The greed of governments in their pursuit of money is the single greatest threat to creating a Dark Age. With New Zealand imposing a $5,000 fine for just landing there and you refuse to hand over your pen and passwords to your phone for them to search, now we have Australia going really nuts to the point that they risk tech companies simply banning the sale of their products in the country. The Assistance and Access Bill 2018 in Australia will force Google, Apple, Facebook, and other technology groups to help Australian authorities decode certain forms of encrypted communications on their systems, or face fines of up to AU$10 million. The government says the legislation will help protect against terrorism, fraud and child abuse crimes, claiming it aims to ensure criminals “have no place to hide.”
The problem that arises that failure to pay taxes they also call criminal. Hence, the hunt for money is greatly aided by this type of legislation far more than any other pretend criminal activity. While the government has stopped short of demanding backdoor access to tech companies’ systems that would allow the government to tap into end-to-end encryption services such as WhatsApp, it doesdemand access to data at “points where it is not encrypted.”
Apple, FOR INSTANCE, would not be made to create a backdoor for their iMessage where every user’s encryption key is different. But the government could request access to the single encryption key for its iCloud services. When you send a message to a friend, it’s encrypted as it travels between the two devices, and when it arrives, it’s decrypted for your friend to read, which is when the government should get to read it. The Australian government is cleverly demanding not a backdoor, but a “side door” to gain access to whatever people are sending.
Naturally, the cybersecurity minister claims this will only be allowed under strict guidelines, with companies subject to three levels of escalation: an interception agency requesting the company voluntarily assist; a “Technical Assistance Notice” whereby the companies are instructed to help; and a “Technical Capability Notice”, which can only be issued by the attorney-general and basically means “comply or face a fine.” However, such promises from governments are really worthless. They always go beyond their claims of restraint.
Apple has filed a complaint stating that the Australian government previously stated that they would not to weaken encryption or compel providers to build systemic weaknesses into their products for that would undermine the entire internet and bring commerce to a halt. Apple has made it clear that this legislation poses serious risks:
- Overly broad powers that could weaken cybersecurity and encryption
- A lack of appropriate independent judicial oversight
- Technical requirements based only on the government’s subjective view of reasonableness and practicability
- Unprecedented interception requirements
- Unnecessarily stifling secrecy mandates
- Extraterritoriality and global impact
Governments are in serious trouble and they will be raising taxes dramatically before they ever dare try to reform. In 2016, Apple fought back when the FBI attempted to compel Apple to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. Creating backdoors means that sophisticated hackers will discover them and exploit them faster than you can blink an eye. There is a profound risk of bringing down the entire digital e-commerce world and you are looking at the destruction of the entire world economy. Apple has come out and stated that this bill is still unfit for today’s world. Governments around the world have to realize that their greed can topple our very way of life.