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The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) has released a submission to parliament claiming that “there is no legitimate reason for a law-abiding member of the community to own or use an encrypted communication platform”.

This comment came about due to the fact that parliament is considering expanding the power of the federal police as well as the ACIC to permit the modification, monitoring, and seizure of online data and activity. As we transcend into a digital realm, many officials and law enforcement worry that bad actors will escape surveillance powers and evade the eyes of the law when operating online. Most recently, calls for concern have shot up over child grooming and sexual exploitation online.

Facebook is considering adapting their services to include end-to-end encryption. This would mean that only the sender and receiver would have access to any online messages, blocking out potential law enforcement. Consumers argue that this will boost privacy but regulatory bodies in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia object to this as a matter of public safety. Ultimately, the trade-off here becomes whether consumers value their safety over their privacy because as it stands, we cannot have both.

Moreover, the Morrison government is adding to its Technology Detection Dogs to expand on its operation against children exploitation online. These tech dogs can effectively sniff out USBs, SIM cards, and similar devices that could house child pornography or other evidence necessary for police investigations.

What is clear is that the Australian parliament is against any form of encryption and we may see a domestic conflict as to how governments police users online.

For the full reading of the submission, see here.

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