“Cryptology experts fear that contentious Australian laws that require tech firms to give security agencies access to encrypted data could be exploited by the same terrorists and criminals they are supposed to entrap. Passed by federal parliament Thursday, the Assistance and Access Bill is likely to be copied in some form by other Western countries as part of an effort to redefine attitudes to the regulation of online communications. Attorneys-general from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand laid down the new parameters during talks on Queensland’s Gold Coast in September that issued three documents, including a communique that said vendors had a ‘mutual responsibility’ to help in law enforcement.
But the industry sees only an unwanted intrusion that could backfire. ‘If there’s a back door, then it’s not only the good people that can use it,’ Michail Maniatakos of New York University’s Center for Cybersecurity told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. ‘There’s no guarantee this back door won’t be abused by the people you want to protect [yourself] from.’”