Australia pushes on with controversial “back door” app access legislation

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The Australian government continues push on with a plan to force “back door access” to secure, encrypted messaging. It is currently working on a bill to introduce such legislation.


A spokesperson for the acting attorney general in Australia told The Guardian that the bill was in, “the advanced stages,” and although an early 2018 introduction was scheduled, it has since been delayed and no final date has been provided.


The so-called back door would let agencies and approved bodies access to the messages and other data stored and sent by secure apps, which normally make it impossible for snoopers to view. Encrypted messaging apps include WhatsApp, iMessage, and Snapchat.


Such measures have split opinion in Australia’s political structure, with parties calling for an early draft of the legislation to be released, allowing it to be viewed by industry and security experts, along with additional consultants.


Privacy advocates are against any such “back doors,” which they say are never truly secure, and increase the risk of criminals gaining access to previously secure services.