Apple issues decryption warning
Apple says the Federal Government’s new decryption bill could create security weaknesses and force it to spy on users.
The bill “could allow the government to order the makers of smart home speakers to install persistent eavesdropping capabilities into a person’s home, require a provider to monitor the health data of its customers for indications of drug use, or require the development of a tool that can unlock a particular user’s device regardless of whether such tool could be used to unlock every other user’s device as well,” Apple said in a recent parliamentary submission (available here in PDF form).
The bill would require organisations to do whatever it takes to bypass security protections.
“Encryption is simply math,” Apple said.
“Any process that weakens the mathematical models that protect user data for anyone will by extension weaken the protections for everyone.
“It would be wrong to weaken security for millions of law-abiding customers in order to investigate the very few who pose a threat.”
The company says it is “deeply concerned that the government may seek to force providers to provide real-time interception of messages or internet-based audio or video calls should the law pass in its current form”.
“All of these capabilities should be as alarming to every Australian as they are to us,” Apple said.
It warned that the decryption laws carry a “profound risk of making criminals’ jobs easier, not harder”.
“The devices you carry not only contain personal emails, health information and photos but are also conduits to corporations, infrastructure and other critical services,” Apple said.
“Vital infrastructure - like power grids and transportation hubs - become more vulnerable when individual devices get hacked.
“Criminals and terrorists who want to infiltrate systems and disrupt sensitive networks may start their attacks by accessing just one person’s smartphone.
“In the face of these threats, this is no time to weaken encryption.”