AustraliaWhat do the new encryption laws mean for you?

15:55  07 december  2018
15:55  07 december  2018 Source:   msn.com

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The government’s planning to introduce new encryption laws that would compel tech companies to hand over encrypted messages. What Does All This Mean ? End-to-end encryption , which is used by messaging applications like WhatsApp, works by scrambling a message as it’s transmitted such

The new encryption cracking powers will be limited to “serious crimes”, defined as terrorism and child sexual offences or other offences with a term of Thank you for your feedback. The Communications Alliance chief executive, John Stanton, said the definition was “too narrow” and would still allow a

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Landmark laws will give security agencies new powers to obtain the encrypted communications of criminal suspects. How far do the powers go? And what do they mean for you?

Here's what you need to know.

What's happening?

Tech giants such as Apple, Google and Facebook can be forced to help Australia's law enforcement agencies read our private messages under new laws designed to ensure wrongdoers can't hide behind encryption.

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What is encryption used for? Encryption has widely been used to protect data in numerous areas So if your original message read “Meet you at the cafe tonight” the encrypted message reads as The encryption algorithm is the chain of calculations that determine what ways the input plain text will

For example, most encrypted services allow you to have multiple devices such as a phone and a computer. Part 2: What does the bill mean ? However, the new authority could still allow a “backdoor.” In addition, the bill grants broad new authorities that make this an expansive authorization

What is encryption and how does it work?

Encryption is an important technology that you use every day. It protects your security and privacy when browsing the web, sending email or banking online.

The technology basically works by scrambling messages in such a complicated way that is it virtually impossible to unscramble them unless you know the decryption key.

This ensures that your messages can't be read by someone who intercepts them in transit, which is why it's known as "end-to-end" encryption.

Think of it as a secure envelope that can only be opened by the intended recipient so not even the postie can steam it open to sneak a peek at your letter.

Why does the government want these laws?

While encryption is great for protecting sensitive information such as banking details, the technology can also be used for more nefarious purposes.

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Did you get a message from WhatsApp saying that an encryption code has been activated on your platform? Although it falls in the grey area of our IT laws , it still seems to be convenient for its users. What that means is that the end-to-end encryption on the app allows complete privacy from

What do the new encryption laws mean for you?© Fairfax Media Illustration: Andrew Dyson

The likes of terrorists, drug smugglers and paedophiles can take advantage of encryption to hide their activities from prying eyes. This has become more of an issue for law enforcement agencies as more online communication tools are beefing up their security.

End-to-end encryption is no longer used only by security-focused smartphone apps such as Signal and Wickr. Today, end-to-end encryption is also available with popular services such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Apple's iMessage. These tech giants can't even read the messages sent across their own networks because they don't have the encryption keys.

Do the new laws force companies to "break" encryption?

No, the laws say that tech companies can't be forced to add a "systemic weakness" to their security. The idea isn't to weaken encryption algorithms, nor to force tech companies to create a way for law enforcement agencies to decrypt messages and secretly open those secure envelopes while they're in transit.

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While the new laws won’t be enforced for another two years or so, this is still a relatively short period considering businesses will need to get to grips with the A default strategy of ‘ encrypt everything’ will be critical to ensuring compliance, and today’s advances in technology mean that encryption is no

While the new laws cover a wide spectrum of draconian policies, three areas of the legislation are of particular concern to the Russian Internet. Considering that most communications traffic is encrypted in one form or another, companies will be obligated to provide the Federal Security Service (FSB) with

So how will they read my encrypted messages?

Instead of breaking encryption, law enforcement agencies are looking for ways to sneak onto your devices to read messages before they're encrypted, or read them once they're decrypted on the other end. They basically want a way to look over your shoulder to see what you're writing before your letter goes in the secure envelope.

The law doesn't specify exactly how tech companies should do this, just that they're obligated to assist when asked to help find ways to read messages. Sneaking onto a device to snoop on messages before they're encrypted could require assistance from a handset-maker such as Apple or Samsung, or from a software maker such as Apple or Google who control iOS and Android. Alternatively, it might require co-operation from a telco such as Telstra or Optus, as well as an app maker such as WhatsApp or Viber.

It remains to be seen whether tech companies co-operate. It is possible they could add extra security features to foil efforts to access encrypted messages, just as they ramped up their end-to-end encryption efforts to hamper US National Security Agency surveillance.

Encrypted messaging laws poised to pass

Encrypted messaging laws poised to pass New laws allowing police and spies to access encrypted messages will pass federal parliament this week.

While WhatsApp encryption is likely to mean little to you – you look like an above-board, throughly decent citizen – there's a risk that certain law -breaking individuals could abuse its new level of privacy. Although dubbed as "a huge victory for privacy and free speech" by Amnesty International, the move

If you ’re like me, you like to believe that no one else is reading your messages or listening in on your calls, but you can never really know. WhatsApp is using AES-256 encryption to scramble the messages, which is uncrackable combined with HMAC-SHA256 secured authentication to exchange

Will the government have unfettered access to my communications?

No more than they did before. They still require a warrant to intercept your encrypted messages; the law does not allow a mass surveillance program.

Will I know if investigators are reading my encrypted messages?

No. The tech company that helps investigators intercept your messages is not allowed to tell you. It's possible that law enforcement agencies could even force software developers within these companies to assist without telling their boss.

Why are security and privacy advocates concerned about this bill?

Even though the bill does not propose weakening encryption itself, any efforts to thwart encryption could potentially affect everyone's privacy and security.

Security and privacy advocates are concerned that the new laws are too vague, particularly as they do not define terms such as "systemic weakness".

History also tells us that once tech companies and law enforcement agencies have ways to intercept messages, this power is open to abuse. It is also possible that the technology could fall into the wrong hands, making it easier for hackers to steal sensitive encrypted information.

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