back to article What do Zuck, Sergey, @Jack and Bezos have in common? They don't want encryption broken

Opposition to the Australian government's proposed crypto-busting legislation is gathering pace, with internet and telco giants deciding to speak with a single voice. Local companies like Telstra and Optus have added their names to the Alliance for a Safe and Secure Internet, which is opposed the Australian government's plans …

  1. Dabbb Bronze badge

    Hmm

    Interesting conundrum.

    From one side there's not many reasons to trust government, on the other side it does not try take over all aspects of life, censor everything it does not like and sell your information to the anyone ready to pay.

    I think I'll stick with government in this one, at least theoretically it can be reelected.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      US-Govt .vs. Auz-Govt - 'Surveillance'

      Think I'll skip both, all travel plans to those parts now cancelled!

      Time to go elsewhere, the rest of the world is just as amazing!

      1. Dabbb Bronze badge

        Re: US-Govt .vs. Auz-Govt - 'Surveillance'

        You'll run out of countries in next 10 years or so.

      2. Julz
        Black Helicopters

        Re: US-Govt .vs. Auz-Govt - 'Surveillance'

        I think you might have to increase your no go countries a bit. Just a starter for ten:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_government_mass_surveillance_projects

      3. Tomato Krill

        Re: US-Govt .vs. Auz-Govt - 'Surveillance'

        Gosh, *all* travel plans to the area?

        Ripping up your nonexistent tickets as we speak?

    2. A.P. Veening

      Re: Hmm

      No conumdrum at all. When government and big money collide, I just put a curse on both houses and look at other parties involved. In this case the position of organizations like Digital Rights Watch, local ISOC chapter Internet Australia, Amnesty International and the Human Rights Law Centre is telling and at least in this case I side with them.

    3. Barrie Shepherd

      Re: Hmm

      "I think I'll stick with government in this one, at least theoretically it can be reelected."

      That won't make the matter go away, just leaves a nice platform for any new government to play with. An incoming government will not be repealing any laws soon

      ".......it does not try take over all aspects of life, censor everything it does not like and sell your information to the anyone ready to pay."

      Maybe not yet, but when they can they most likely will.

      1. Toilet Duk

        Re: Hmm

        If an incoming government inherits a total surveillance system then it will not relinquish that power. Like Isildur with the ring of power.

    4. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Hmm

      censor everything it does not like and sell your information to the anyone ready to pay.

      Well, some Governments have been known to hand bulk hand over their citizens data for various reasons from efficiencies to special interests, not to mention outsourcing essential services to cut price bargain basement operations

      I think I'll stick with government in this one, at least theoretically it can be reelected.

      In theory, scrape the scrabble pieces off the board and into the bag and redraw, same pieces come out again - better to burn the bag with the pieces in and start a new game of something else.

    5. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Change

      I can change my search engine today.

      The next general election is scheduled for May 2022. Although there may be a few different faces I am not expecting any real change in the government.

    6. Tigra 07 Silver badge

      Re: Dabbb

      From one side there's not many reasons to trust government, on the other side it does not try take over all aspects of life, censor everything it does not like and sell your information to the anyone ready to pay

      You don't think the Government tries to take over all aspects of life and censor things they don't like? Have you just been awoken from your cryogenic sleep?

      1. Dabbb Bronze badge

        Re: Dabbb

        "You don't think the Government tries to take over all aspects of life and censor things they don't like? Have you just been awoken from your cryogenic sleep?"

        On some unknown reason at this stage I trust Australian Government more than Facebook and Google.

        For all retarded downvoters who think that it's better to deal with transnational corporation not accountable to anyone than with your local governments - smash that button on the right as if your life depends on it. It will make you feel better and you clearly need it.

        1. Adam 1 Silver badge

          Re: Dabbb

          "Retarded" down voter here. What you presented was a false dichotomy. Not believing in government fairy-math doesn't make me support the farcebooks and slurps of the world.

          The legislation they are trying to ram through makes noises about companies not being permitted to weaken encryption but simultaneously holds them to have capabilities to decrypt them. This is a mathematical impossibility. Not that one cannot choose elliptic curves that generate random numbers in a predictable way to the designers, or that the encryption key cannot be put in some escrow or thata message could not be intercepted at a point where it isn't yet encrypted. That will work but it will significantly increase other security vulnerabilities.

          If the government actually spent more than 8 seconds per submission they received in considering the feedback, they might actually learn something. Yes. Literally 8 seconds.

          I'll credit the shadow minister with making the right noise about those risks, but she should remember that it was her side's underpants head that first tried to bring in the mandatory metadata retention laws we are now saddled with. Colour me a tad skeptical that they remember their opposition logic when they are surrounded by the groupthink that pervades their advisers in government. I do wish our media would at least try to elicit a commitment from the opposition to reverse these laws if they win the election in a few months.

          But you may want to reflect on why you think that calling someone retarded is an insult.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Dabbb

          "For all retarded downvoters who think that it's better to deal with transnational corporation not accountable to anyone than with your local governments - smash that button on the right as if your life depends on it. It will make you feel better and you clearly need it."

          You really should not take "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" quite so literally. The fact that somone may oppose a policy of their government while at the same time the likes of Facebook also oppose that same policy does not mean that same someone is a Facebook fanboi. All it mean is that their aims (NB aims, not motives) happen to align in that instance.

          Another, more down to earth example for you. If I vote against the Tories for some reason and some knuckle dragging fascist also votes against the Tories, that doesn't mean I support the knuckle dragging fascist.

        3. Smooth Newt Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Dabbb

          For all retarded downvoters who think that it's better to deal with transnational corporation not accountable to anyone than with your local governments - smash that button on the right as if your life depends on it. It will make you feel better and you clearly need it.

          It's difficult to bring people around to your point of view by insulting them. And, as others have pointed out, not trusting governments doesn't automatically mean you trust everyone else.

          “Ad hominem is a notoriously weak logical argument. And is usually used to distract the focus of a discussion - to move it from an indefensible point and to attack the opponent." - Jim Butcher, Furies of Calderon

    7. Smooth Newt Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Hmm

      From one side there's not many reasons to trust government, on the other side it does not try take over all aspects of life, censor everything it does not like and sell your information to the anyone ready to pay.

      I am struggling to think of any area of life that governments such as that of Australia do not legislate on. Answers on a postcard please.

    8. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Hmm

      @Dabbb

      *NO*

      If you 'stick with government on this one' with respect to encryption, you're missing the point. If the weakening of the encryption took the form of a 'back door', it would be more obvious.

      Although the legislation itself seems to CLAIM that it does not involve 'back doors', it DOES seem to involve circumvention of encryption for law enforcement, etc.. so how are they going to accomplish this?

      I suspect it will be some 'weakening' of encryption, such as 'man in the middle' SSL certs or disclosure of server private keys, so that traffic can be easily decrypted.

      In any case, take a look at what's happening over here in the USA, involving certain 'rogue' factions wtihin the government and their uber-LOUD 'howler monkey' protesters/activists help to drive it in the public eye. Even when 'innocent until proven guilty' is CLEARLY written directly into the Constitution, you have "trial by emotion", in the public eye, where you're PRESUMED GUILTY until PROVEN innocent, based on 'political correctness' of the day, assisted by a willing press corps. Couple that with FBI interviews and "special investigations" that consist of 'perjury traps' for political enemies, in which you're JAILED for LYING [or potentially impeached, *cough* *cough*] because of the trap [and in many cases, some have spent YEARS in jail until the appellate court figures out they were SET UP and ACQUITS them, damage and 'mission of the moment' accomplished anyway].

      A 'bad' example of a perjury trap:

      Cops: do you sometimes pleasure yourself to on-line porn?

      You: No way!

      Cops: is that your statement under oath?

      You: Of course it is! How dare you insinuate [etc.]

      Cops: Well look what we have here, it's your BROWSER HISTORY and images taken through your web cam, which we compromised using a special added script we injected into the web pages... oh, my, you're such a NAUGHTY BOY! And what were you looking at? WEll I'd say 5 to 10 YEARS for LYING TO INVESTIGATORS!!!

      And these dirty, politically-motivated 'investigations' are a way of COERCING "testimony" from political adversaries in order to take out OTHER adversaries, a filthy, sneaky, "tin horn dictatorship" way of operating. Might as well wear BROWN SHIRTS with red,white, and black armbands...

      I don't think Australia is immune to this kind of corruption. The USA obviously isn't. And giving gummint MORE power to go on a "fishing expedition" into YOUR life, or anyone else's for THAT matter, is a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, BAD idea. History CLEARLY shows what happens when there's "too much spying going on out there" by gummints on their own citizens. "Does not end well" is an UNDERstatement.

    9. Vocational Vagabond

      Re: Hmm

      Political abuse may be far worse if your populace elects a clown .. no political system is immune from the stupidity of the masses .. nor the subversion of such by the few.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm

      Says the member of the Australian 50 cent army?

  2. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Bad laws are bad laws

    Once foisted upon us, they tend to hang around like bad smells.

    I don't trust either side to deal honestly on net security.

  3. Nick Kew Silver badge
    Facepalm

    EPARSE

    Lizzy O'Shea of Digital Rights Watch is acting as Alliance for a Safe and Secure Internet,

    Erm, I'm getting cognitive dissonance there. You've introduced the "Alliance for a Safe and Secure Internet" as having a lot of big and important members behind it (oo-er, missus), now you imply she's one woman.

    I can correct that in various ways, with meanings that are similar but not identical:

    " ... is acting for ... " (the minimal correction in letters changed)

    " ... is acting as spokesman for ... " (as above, more specific capacity)

    " ... is speaking for ... " (limiting the occasion too)

    " ... acts for ... " (generalises the context),

    " ... speaks on behalf of ... " (generalise context, specifies capacity)

    etc.

    Who is proofreading as El Reg?

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: EPARSE

      "Who is proofreading as El Reg?"

      Allegedly, if you can't tell who is the sucker in a game of poker, it's you.

  4. Rupert Fiennes Bronze badge

    Zuck wants *end to end* encryption?

    I got the impression that Zuckerberg was rather upset at Whatsapp's use of end to end encryption, since it stopped him from searching and monetizing Whatsapp....

    1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

      Re: Rupert

      He's monetizing it anyway next year with adverts (according to news reports).

  5. Velv Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Go Dark

    The big guys should make sure all Aussie users are aware of the implications by going dark for a day, or even a few hours.

    Post a message that service would be offline if said law is implemented. Australia is small enough that this wouldn't really impact profits but big enough that the governments and peoples of the world would take note.

    1. Twanky
      Mushroom

      Re: Go Dark

      IMO that would get them barred from any discussions about the future legislation - so they would lose influence over its development. Yes, by the sound of it the proposed legislation is crazy but drawing lines in the sand and daring people to cross them rarely moves a discussion forward.

      icon: save the nuclear option until all else fails.

      1. OffBeatMammal

        Re: Go Dark

        rather than go whole hog, use the platform they have to educate voters about the potential fallout of *their* governments actions so whoever is trying to ram this through, and for whatever reasons, at least get a dose of sunlight.

        sure, the media will do their best to downplay it... but making politicians up for election aware that this is something people will care about helps them chart a more carefully thought out course (you'd hope!)

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. caffeine addict Silver badge

    Dear Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, and Google.

    If encryption in Australia is broken, it is your moral duty to block all traffic coming from Australian IP addresses. The data can't be trusted. You can't trust that it's correct coming in, and you can't trust that any response you give won't be compromised.

    Same goes for any international financial service - block all Australian traffic.

    It's one thing standing there with your hand in the air. It's another thing to actually stand by it. Do it.

  8. Flakk Silver badge

    The Don't Want Encryption Broken

    Well, that's certainly the brave, public face that they're putting on for us. Behind closed doors, I doubt they're too broken up over potential opportunities to slurp even more data.

    1. DCFusor Silver badge

      Re: The Don't Want Encryption Broken

      I didn't see any opportunity for anyone but government to slurp more data...the big corps weren't getting any new slurp rights at all. But the government wants them (and indirectly us) to pay for the cost of compliance with this, and create yet another place for the slurped data go to without our permission, increase the attack surface by also holding it in a government IT system or few...and of course give government access to whatever they want almost surely without due process, because they'll want so much there aren't enough judges to sign all the warrants...

      Just one more sign of governments afraid of their people, not because they fear not getting re-elected, but perhaps other reasons more related to actual anger in the populace. Nip any real resistance in the bud, a stitch in time and all that.

      1. Flakk Silver badge

        Re: The Don't Want Encryption Broken

        Just one more sign of governments afraid of their people, not because they fear not getting re-elected, but perhaps other reasons more related to actual anger in the populace.

        Setting aside for a moment an argument about who is being made afraid of whom, I'm having difficulty coming up with ANY period of time where some portion of the electorate WASN'T incensed about the real or imagined actions of its government. I'm dubious that the government wants unfettered power to snoop on its citizens because it is afraid of them.

      2. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        Re: The Don't Want Encryption Broken

        Just one more sign of governments afraid of their people, not because they fear not getting re-elected, but perhaps other reasons more related to actual anger in the populace. Nip any real resistance in the bud, a stitch in time and all that.

        Given 9/11 and the billions lost in various hacks, of course those with real power are terrified at what can be done by one person or just a few. The New Encryption War and all the other attendant changes in state powers is exactly the reaction one would expect looking at the world today from their eyes. Even though it will prove in the end absolutely futile.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Don't Want Encryption Broken

        "I didn't see any opportunity for anyone but government to slurp more data"

        What part of 'broken encryption' are you ignoring?

        Anyone who can see your encrypted data has a chance to get it, if encryption is deliberately weakened or back doored. The bigger they are (big corporations, governments, organized crime) the more likely they are to break your encryption.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Encryption would break, which some of you seem to be OK with, and others are not. But we can agree that verifying online identity (of, for example a web server) has become essential to how modern democracy works, also relies on cryptography and should not become a bargaining chip to ward off bloodshed. It is dangerously ignorant.

  10. TReko

    Its too late

    Not disclosing your password in Australia will cost you $60,000 or 5 years jail

  11. Herby Silver badge

    A backdoor for one...

    Is a backdoor for everyone. That type of secret won't last long in these modern times.

  12. Toilet Duk

    Is there any VPN which we can trust not to have a backdoor or some other cosy arrangement with government? I would not trust any based in a five-eyes country. I was thinking Nord VPN, any thoughts?

    1. onefang Silver badge

      "Is there any VPN which we can trust not to have a backdoor or some other cosy arrangement with government?"

      Well there is mine, but it only has one user, so probably useless for you.

  13. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

    "...the government needs to sit down with stakeholders..."

    He means people, right? Australian citizens? I hope so.

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