Australians who won’t unlock their phones could face 10 years in jail
The Australian government wants to force companies to help it get at suspected criminals’ data. If they can’t, it would jail people for up to a decade if they refuse to unlock their phones.
The country’s Assistance and Access Bill, introduced this week for public consultation, strengthens the penalties for people who refuse to unlock their phones for the police. Under Australia’s existing Crimes Act, judges could jail a person for two years for not handing over their data. The proposed Bill extends that to up to ten years, arguing that the existing penalty wasn’t strong enough.
The Bill takes a multi-pronged approach to accessing a suspect’s data by co-opting third parties to help the authorities. New rules apply to “communication service providers”, which is a definition with a broad scope. It covers not only telcos, but also device vendors and application publishers, as long as they have “a nexus to Australia”.
This follows a bit in the footsteps of the US CLOUD Act but extends to the individual too. There seems to be a pattern emerging... But at least there is this proviso which prevents weakining security for everyone else: There are a few things that the Bill doesn’t allow. The government can’t force a company to build weaknesses into a product, or stop it from fixing those that it finds. That rules out encryption backdoors, then. Neither can it access information without a warrant.
|Australians who won’t unlock their phones could face 10 years in jail
The Australian government wants to increase the criminal penalty for refusing to decrypt data from 2 years to 10 years.