If you have one task you can prioritise over the weekend can EFA suggests this: submit any comments on the The Assistance and Access Bill 2018 to [email protected]

Emails need to be in by Monday 10 September 2018. There is no format or minimum response, and the more direct submissions they receive the better the chances they will listen (you’d hope).

We've been asking for two years to see the legislation, and having only four weeks to respond is frustrating. The legislation runs over 200 pages, it’s broad, and it’s complicated.

By all accounts the Government has spoken to big tech companies before making this legislation public. We all know that the big companies will be fine, especially the multinational tech companies with massive budgets and great lawyers who will only do what they need to do. What about the rest us? There has been no consultation despite years of asking. It’s hard not to feel cynical about the Government’s intent.  

This legislation will shape the landscape of technology development in Australia and the effects will be felt for decades to come. We need encryption if we are going to safely store, share, and provide services for private data. These laws will weaken security for all Australians by undermining the very technologies we use to keep us safe. These laws will affect how Australia is viewed internationally, and we have already seen people sharing online warnings for those travelling to Australia for business.

The Federal Government has consistently shown that it is not open to scrutiny or external oversight, and that it will push forward with technology choices that are flawed, unjust and hurt people. My Health Record, Centrelink’s Robo-debt, the Senate inquiry into digital delivery, and CensusFail are all evidence of a Government that gets digital so wrong.

The proposed laws greatly expand the powers of law enforcement and other agencies to gain access to the private data of Australians, undermining the digital security they depend on to do their banking, buy things online, and to communicate with their friends. While the government attempts to characterise these new powers as not providing a ‘backdoor’ that is precisely what they do.

EFA is greatly concerned by the wide powers granted by these laws, and the lack of independent oversight of their use. These laws represent yet another major reduction in Australians’ digital rights using scaremongering about terrorism and crime to justify more power in the hands of unaccountable government agencies.

EFA previously joined with AccessNow and 76 other organisations in urging Parliament not to undermine encryption but clearly more is needed. EFA calls on all Australians to tell the government that digital rights are human rights and they must be protected.

For advice on how to make a submission, go to https://www.efa.org.au/get-involved/making-a-submission

For more information about the bill, go to https://efa.org.au/blog-on-assistance-and-access-bill

To show your support for a secure Australia, sign the petition at https://secureaustralia.org.au/

Further Reading: Australian human rights lawyer Lizzie O’Shea made the New York Times Opinion section with Australia Wants to Take Government Surveillance to the Next Level

From Digital Rights Watch: Defend Encryption in Australia

From Access Now: What (we think) you should know about Australia’s new encryption bill

Great blog post: Assistance and Access Bill 2018 Analysis

From EFF: Trust Us, We’re Secretly Working for a Foreign Government: How Australia’s Proposed Surveillance Laws Will Break The Trust Tech Depends On

Don't miss the Juice Media's Honest Government Ad and the inspiration for Ass Access commissioned with support from Digital Rights Watch

10 comments

  1. I don't like this bill. It seems to give the government power to compell people to self incriminate. I also couldn't see provisions about how gathered evidence will be destroyed, and protections of intellectual property.

    Comment by Adam Edgley on 5 September 2018 at 20:40
  2. I disagree with the bill.

    Comment by Karl Thomas on 5 September 2018 at 22:45
  3. Utterly unnecessary and illegitimate.
    You are destroying our democracy.
    I reject this proposal completely
    Maree H
    [comment edited by moderator to remove contact information]

    Comment by Maree H on 6 September 2018 at 15:23
  4. I left Australia 6 years ago... Haven't been happier!
    We've seen alot change for the worse since leaving. What started at a 1 year excursions turned out to be the best move we ever made.

    You won't stop this bill, they distract you with these bills you are fighting individually...
    If it was stopped they would wrap it in a different bundle and pass it anyway.

    What your doing is important, but stop fighting each new Bill, and start fighting the real problem.

    Comment by PHILIPPE on 6 September 2018 at 15:59
  5. Thank you everyone for your comments. Please remember to email [email protected] we need to be sure they know your views as well.

    Thanks all,
    Lyndsey
    EFA Chair

    Comment by Lyndsey Jackson on 6 September 2018 at 16:01
  6. Fascism at its finest. The government has no need to spy on people

    Comment by TaustyZ on 8 September 2018 at 12:36
  7. So how would this go in the face of GDPR if you are a dual citizen? Maybe we need GDPR reform here also?

    Comment by Fungus on 11 September 2018 at 11:54
  8. So what ended up happening, did the bill pass?

    Comment by Andy blob on 12 September 2018 at 19:57
  9. I'd like to know what's the bill's current status as well. 15 Sep and can't find any recent info about it. Wouldn't be surprised if information about it is being suppressed.

    Comment by James on 15 September 2018 at 15:53
  10. For anyone interested the bill is still "Before reps" according to.

    https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r6195

    Comment by Centrist on 27 September 2018 at 02:44

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