Australia’s government moved a step closer to passing a law which would require tech companies to give security agencies access to encrypted data, with harsh penalties for not complying, Reuters reported.
The parliament’s lower house approved a bill which calls for fines of up to AUD10 million ($7.3 million) for failing to enable authorities to break into encrypted devices. Individuals could serve prison terms for not complying.
Tech giants including Apple, Facebook and Google have raised concerns over the bill, which is expected to run into stiff resistance in the upper house, Reuters said.
The law is seen as a global test case, with other countries pushing similar legislation to circumvent encryption on devices. The tech companies and privacy advocates worry the laws will weaken digital security.
Australia’s government argued authorities need stronger powers to reduce the threat of terrorist attacks and organised crime, the news agency said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison vowed to “fight to get those encryption laws passed”.
The US Congress earlier rejected moves by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and US Department of Justice to give intelligence agencies access to data linked to suspected illegal activities.
A number of counties have enacted narrower restrictions, with governments in India, the UK and Brazil asking WhatsApp for access to messages related to criminal cases.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back