Australia just voted to ban working cryptography. No, really.

That’s an evergreen conspiracy theory, because there’s inarguably stuff they’re not telling us, and any evidence against it can be taken as evidence for it. But it’s very unlikely. And even if the NSA could trivially break any current or future cryptosystem, they certainly wouldn’t tell your local police that (or even high-ranking politicians). So, when gobshite politicians try to stop movie pirates and drug dealers using crypto, you can confidently take that at face value.

If there were any actual security competence involved in designing these laws, they would simply ban cryptography, rather than encouraging people to think their communications were secure, and then sabotaging that security. They just don’t want to say that, because it would sound as insanely draconian as it is, so they pretend to believe in magic back doors instead.


So if Australia went to Apple and/or Google and asked them to add backdoors to their operating systems, is that market large enough that Apple and/or Google would agree or would push back, perhaps even so far as to remove their products from the country (making sure to tell their users exactly who was responsible for forcing that decision?)

After all if they bow to pressure from Australia, what’s to prevent China or Russia from exerting similar pressure to get access to that same backdoor that they could use to access, say, the ever-present phone of a certain world “leader”? (I know, they almost certainly already have access already.)

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Everyone should be on board with this. It’s for he children, making it harder for sex ring and pedophiles to covertly spread their filth and network their crimes. It makes it harder for terrorists to covertly plan attacks. Etc etc etc, for the public good. No one NEEDS that level of encryption in private hands.


Mmm yes. That’ll work. On Mars!

/resumes testing Sha3-256 hashing unit on Windows and Raspbian…

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you keep using this phrase bad-guy, but consider - if being good means abiding by the laws of Australia do you really want to be good?
Also apply this to other countries you may be familiar with.


When a government issues secret orders to violate people’s rights, it comes with a gag order. So not only are Apple and Google heavily incentivized not to reveal privacy violations, they’re legally required to keep it a secret.

Really the only reason Big Tech does what they do around privacy is because of public perception. They want their corporate clients to feel that the client’s privacy comes first.

The government approach of legally protected conspiracies against the public aligns the incentives so that there’s pretty much no reason for Big Tech not to cooperate. They will be destroyed (domestically) if they refuse, and they will likely never see any consequences if they cooperate.

And even if they are caught (through extralegal means like hacking, leaks, etc) the conspiratorial nature of the regime makes it hard to single them out. After all, presumably everyone is doing it. Even the company which public postures as refusing to go along with such plans and is publicly reprimanded for their non-compliance could easily be cooperating behind closed doors. By destroying the capacity for civilian oversight, they also cripple the possibility of mobilizing on a case-by-case basis. All we’re left with is the vague sense that the government and corporations may-or-may-not-be fucking us at any given time.

The upshot is that what Australia is attempting is in fact very possible, and the only thing that will stop them is determined disobedience on both civil and technical fronts.


The commentariat are generally awful though. Does Guido Fawkes still write for them too?

How exactly is the Australian financial community suppose to conform to this law while operating in jurisdictions that have a mandate for stronger encryption with respect to personally identifiable information? Just ignore it or not do business? Wow the Australian govt really needs to rethink this fast otherwise they’ll lock out their businesses from many countries.


The government would probably be happy to grant strong encryption licences for legitimate (as they would see it) business purposes

Except they can’t - because those “legitimate businesses” have to connect out into the potentially terrorist- or dissident-infested Outer World in order to function. How does #AUSGov know, for instance, that the Australian Bank doing wire transfers to a Bank in Iraq or Iran or Yemen (assuming there still is one we haven’t helped Syria bomb back into the Stone Age!), or even a Bank in the UK or US, isn’t funding…Terrorism??? How can OzReichsProtektorate (or whatever you call your version of “Homeland Security”) be sure business e-mails aren’t actually being used to send out messages to…Terrorists!?!?!?!?!?!?

Because rest assured, if I were a Terrorist and wanted to safely send out Secret Terrorist Communiques, the first thing I’d do is get a job at a business that had one of those exemptions from Australia’s “backdoor” law, and make sure the person I was communicating with worked for a “safe” business on the other side, so we could communicate freely…

In the south we have a saying. “Sh*t in one hand, wish in the other. See which one fills up first.”

The bank would be required to turn over whatever information the police or security services wanted. Encryption would be used only to prevent fraudulent translations and would not keep the details of the transaction secret from the bank or the regulators. Individual employees would not be able to prevent their emails being decrypted and handed over.

You nerds will just have to #NerdHarder !

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I wonder how the Global Financial Community’s going to react to THAT one, given how often their day-to-day Communications disclose information they’d rather not have anybody else reading.

Also, you must have a lot more faith in the incorruptibility of Government Employees than the average Financial Industry Executive does - or than I do, for that matter. I foresee a brisk secondary business in Security Service Agents peddling confidential financial information to third parties - if Certain Interested Parties in your Government don’t demand it as their due in order to profit from it first!

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Yeah, let the waivers begin!

So, if I’m looking to be absolutely devastated by malicious hackers I should move to Australia, right?! Actually, ya know what, here’s my bank account number: 654687565879. Have at it!

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