Australian Industry Group Warns Dutton’s Plans To Play Big Brother To Australia May Backfire

The Australian Industry Group warned that Peter Dutton’s proposed surveillance law could create “systemic weakness or vulnerability” that would be open to exploitation.

Dutton who is the Minister for Home Affairs is pushing for a legislation to require telcos and tech giants to install spyware on customers’ devices and messaging platforms.

“Criminal syndicates and terrorists are increasingly misusing and, indeed, exploiting these technologies,” Mr. Dutton said in a speech last week introducing The Assistance and Access Bill 2018 to Parliament.

“The bill provides law enforcement agencies with additional powers for overt and covert computer access. Computer access involves the use of software to collect information directly from devices,” he added.

The Digital Industry Group which represents tech giants like Facebook, Amazon, Google and Twitter has issued a warning “that these proposed security vulnerabilities, even if they are built to combat crime, leaves us open to attack from criminals”.

Australian Industry Group has responded to a request for consultation by submitting warnings of “unintended consequences” of the proposed legislation.

In its submission, they warned that the government could inadvertently give more access to criminal organizations, even if it was just a “one-off firmware update targeted at that suspect and no one else”.

“We are of the view that introducing any type of technical capability or functionality to grant access to a user’s hardware or services potentially creates a systemic weakness or vulnerability,” the group’s submission states.

“Once developed, it may be capable of extension to any and all users and could also create an opening for others to take advantage of new and existing weaknesses in the system.”

“We would be concerned if broadly and vaguely scoped legislation could compel companies to build security vulnerabilities into their products – this would affect all users of that product and result in weaker security for everyone,” the industry group warned.

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