When it comes to data security, there is an inherent tension between safety and privacy. The government’s job is to balance these priorities with laws that will keep Australians safe, improve the economy and protect personal data from unwarranted surveillance.
This is a delicate line to walk. Recent debate has revolved around whether technology companies should be required to help law enforcement agencies gain access to the encrypted messages of suspected criminals.
While this is undoubtedly an important issue, the enacted legislation – the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act – fails on both fronts. Not only is it unlikely to stop criminals, it could make personal communications between everyday people less secure.
Rather than focus on the passage of high-profile legislation that clearly portrays a misunderstanding of the technology in question, the government would do better to invest in a comprehensive cyber security strategy that will actually have an impact.