Internet Australia is deeply concerned with the exposure draft of the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill by the Department of Home Affairs, and the short four-week period permitted for public comments and analysis.

“We recognise that law enforcement has a legitimate desire to access and view information transmitted across telecommunications networks by serious criminals, and that often these messages are encrypted in some form, as Internet application developers enhance the security and confidentiality of their services” the Chair of Internet Australia, Dr Paul Brooks, said today.

 

Full Media Release Here

 

Reminder that, with great timing, Internet Australia and ISOC are hosting a number of
international and national experts on encryption at our public Encryption Experts
Session event at Parliament House in Canberra next Monday evening - arranged well
prior to yesterdays exposure draft release.

The event is free to attend and open to the public as well as members, there are still
tickets available at
https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/encryption-experts-session-evening-in-canberra-tickets-48911717263

 

A number of international experts in encryption and and secure communication are coming to Australia specifically to discuss the importance of strong encryption and Internet confidentiality with parliamentarians, joined with a number of local experts - and they have agreed to provide a public forum on 20th August 4:30pm - 7:30pm.   It WILL be streamed live so that people not in Canberra can watch also. 

International and Australian experts participating include:

  • Dr. Hal Abelson, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, a fellow of
    the IEEE, and a founding director of Creative Commons and the Free Software Foundation.
  • Martin Thomson, engineer at Mozilla, member of the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), lead of
    the IAB Privacy and Security Program
  • Mark Nottingham, engineer, member of the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), chair of the
    Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) HTTP and QUIC Working Groups.
  • Dr. Vanessa Teague, cryptographer, University of Melbourne
  • Linus Chang, Director of Scram Software Pty Ltd, an Australian cloud security provider
  • Peter Tonoli, Board member of Electronic Frontier Australia; Director; Internet Australia; and Senior Technical Fellow, Blueprint for Free Speech

The evening will be lead by Keith Besgrove, Vice-Chair of Internet Australia, Christine Runnegar, Senior Director at ISOC, and Ryan Polk, Policy Advisor at ISOC.

If you can attend in Canberra, please register for a ticket at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/encryption-experts-session-evening-in-canberra-tickets-48911717263 as places are limited for catering purposes.

This event is the outcome of over a year of planning and negotiation, starting with the awesome George Fong before me. We haven't made a big splash about it before now, but behind the scenes, a small group of us have met in Canberra multiple times with politicians, Senators, Ministers, Shadow Ministers and their staff from all sides of politics, looking to advise and educate the policy makers on the importance of strong encryption for Internet trust and confidentiality, without backdoors.

Several times over the past two years, Attorney Generals Department, and now the Department of Home Affairs, has foreshadowed new legislation to assist law enforcement to gain backdoor access to encrypted messaging platforms and mobile handset devices, most recently in June in a speech by  Angus Taylor MP, Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-06/tech-and-telco-terror-laws-to-be-presented-in-weeks/9839500

https://www.innovationaus.com/2018/06/An-encryption-bill-with-holes-in-it

https://www.crikey.com.au/2018/06/06/governments-malware-backdoor-confirms-global-village-idiot-status/

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/national-security/tough-laws-to-put-terror-heat-on-tech-titans/news-story/20b711a9af353ba603ff7edacd95ec32

We know the legislation has been drafted for over 7 months now, yet they have not released even an exposure draft for the public to evaluate the impact of how they plan to access currently secure communications. This is shaping up to be another Metadata Retention fiasco all over again.

The Internet Society's position is clear:

https://www.internetsociety.org/blog/2017/10/strong-encryption-essential-security-not-barrier/

and the Internet Society is supporting the awareness raising in Australia....see https://www.internetsociety.org/issues/encryption/

We hope this will be the first of a number of information and awareness raising sessions on the importance of keeping strong encryption free from backdoors and other measures that will weaken security of confidential and secure communications, and potentially ecommerce, banking, and anyone who keeps confidential information on a smartphone.

Internet Australia welcomes the Department of Communications report released today outlining reforms of the governance of Australian Internet name administration, and the organisation currently charged with that responsibility, .auDA.

 

Full Media Release Here

Internet Australia calls on Government to heed Parliament’s call for delivery of a high speed NBN over Fibre to the kurb (FTTC) for as many Australians as possible.

Full Media Release Here

Internet Australia calls for all ISPs to follow Telstra and Optus’s recent example, examine their FTTN and FTTB customers and reimburse those unable to achieve the speeds they have subscribed to.

 

Full Media Release Here