The Australian Attorney-General’s office is pushing forward a new bill that would force individuals and service providers to decode any data intercepted them.

In effect, suspects would be legally forced to incriminate themselves. Internet and other providers would be legally forced to reveal encrypted data their clients had thought was secure. And just as important, under the law, these companies would be legally protected from prosecution for doing so.

It’s not enough that governments are intercepting everything that happens on the Internet, now they want help to read it, too.  (You’ll recall that the Australian government was active with the NSA in spying on individuals around the world, as revealed by Edward Snowden.)

Why is it that the people in government are so free and easy in demanding an end to individual privacy?

A few key sections caught our eye:

The new demands are ‘buried in a submission’ of the revision proposal to the Telecommunications Interceptions Act. If forcing Betty to show the AG how to read that private note to her brother is OK, then why does it have to be buried or hidden?

Don’t be fooled by references to ‘Sophisticated criminals and terrorists are exploiting encryption and counter-interception techniques to frustrate law enforcement’! Simple encryption tools are generally available to everyone these days. Once such a law is passed everyone’s privacy will be at risk. The Australian government is claiming the right to know everything that the public is doing.

What could an ‘independent issuing authority’ be, other than another government agency? For those who have been paying attention, the last decade has shown that government agencies support each other. When Agency A goes to Agency B for approval, it invariably gets it. This is especially true when the request and the decision are legally secret – hidden behind legal formalities.

It is especially disturbing that the new law is intended to ‘merely formalize existing arrangement’! Can that mean anything other than that the government is already operating this way? More specifically, this law is intended to protect companies that have already been cooperating with the Australian government in this way.

What does notcompel[ling] a person to do something which they are not reasonable capable of doingbut still ‘constitut[ing] a criminal offence’ possibly mean in the context of a law? Is that lazy copyrighting or intention haziness?

It makes you wanna cry.