Australia passes cyber snooping laws with global implications
Australia Thursday passed controversial laws allowing spies and police to snoop on the encrypted communications of suspected terrorists and criminals, as experts warned the “unprecedented powers” had far-reaching implications for global cybersecurity.
There has been extensive debate about the laws and their reach beyond Australia’s shores in what is seen as the latest salvo between global governments and tech firms over national security and privacy.
Under the legislation, Canberra can compel local and international providers — including overseas communication giants such as Facebook and WhatsApp — to remove electronic protections, conceal covert operations by government agencies, and help with access to devices or services.
Australian authorities can also require that those demands be kept secret.
The conservative government had pushed for the bill to be passed before parliament rises for the year this week, saying the new powers were needed to thwart terror attacks during the festive period.