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Why Australia Should Not Hurry With Its Encryption Bill

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Australian Encryption Bill

The Australian Parliament has recently heard the Australian Prime Minister put forth his appeal for the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018, or the ‘Encryption Bill’ as it is commonly known, to be brought to the table for serious consideration.

It may be noted that the first draft of this Bill has already been released and the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) was earlier heard urging for a speedier process. The Australian PM’s two-week deadline only seems to have set the wheels in motion.

Theories regarding the hurry

Experts have raised concerns about the stringent timeline that could result in a defective legislation coming into force. These concerns primarily point at certain imperfections in this Bill such as lack of immunity to the IT Companies, a defect that has the potential to result in the subsequent breach of existing laws such as privacy laws and consumer laws. Other concerns include violation of Human Rights and last-minute hurry before the Federal Elections, in early 2019.

Need for more time

In the meantime, there have been several theories indicating a clear difference of opinion regarding the proposed Bill.  Primarily because this proposed Encryption Bill reportedly fails to provide the right framework for the entire process. Therefore, it has been stated that necessary amendments be made to the existing laws. Since that is a tedious process, it, therefore, requires time for due consideration.

On the other hand, the Australian Parliament’s last session for the year is reportedly scheduled for 6th December 2018. So with very little time left for the amendments to be discussed, a fair assessment can only be made once this bill has the force of law and turns into legislation. Until then, we can only hope that it is not too late when that happens.


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