Australian technology industry experts are warning that the legal implications regarding potential new encryption bills would be extensive. The result of this would be the potential loss of many jobs and a reduction in Australia’s competitive edge in the fiercely competitive tech space.
Under the current proposed powers, the Assistance and Access Bill could may well require companies to have measures in place for law enforcement to access their data. However such measures would have to be kept secret and not disclosed to clients & customers. According to Francis Galbally, chairman of the leading encryption provider Senetas, mistrust would soon be rife for many tech businesses, including his own.
Mr Galbally suggested the bill would create an impression that his own company Senetas may have been obliged to make a secret modification to its products. Modifications that were only done to help assist government agencies. Such changes may also have other unforeseen impacts. This is certainly not the reputation that Australian tech companies want, among their international competitors and customers. A joint submission from the Communications Alliance, the Australian Industry Group and others have re-iterated these concerns, stating the following “the draft bill poses a real risk for the IT/communications export industry which Austrade values at $3.2 billion”.