The chilling phrase of ‘where are your papers?’ is about to be replaced by ‘what is your password?’.
Encryption technology, by definition, is meant to allow you to communicate what you wish and with whoever you wish anonymously.
This doesn’t sit well with power hungry governments and law enforcement agencies. Like parents who secretly read their children’s diaries, they want to know everything about you.
Child exploitation and terrorism are some of the reasons government trots out to convince you why they need expanded powers to access all the data on your phone and computer. What they don’t publicise is that their attack on Australians’ privacy rights hits every single law abiding citizen as well.
Nonetheless, proposed new laws will hand South Australian Police more power to access encrypted or password-protected material held in the digital world.
SA Police say anonymity is dangerous
They’re using the child-exploitation argument as the crux for the importance of this legislation. In this tech-driven day and age, they say, our laws need to keep up with the ever advancing features of the cyber world.
As AAP reports, Attorney-General Vickie Chapman is hell bent on rectifying this disturbing issue in our society:
‘The possession and distribution of child pornography is utterly vile behaviour that perpetuates the abuse of children, and those involved in this practice, or who support it, should face the full force of the law.’
The new law intends to help identify those who are managing to hide their child-abusing identities amongst the apparent anonymity of the World Wide Web. As such, the legislation includes specific offences to ensure anyone promoting or managing a website that includes child pornographic content will be named and shamed…and prosecuted.
It’s worth the sacrifice to privacy
Chapman feels it is a necessary step to have a means of compelling people to grant access to their encrypted material.
‘That can include the provision of passwords, fingerprints, facial scans or retinal scans, whatever enables authorities to access a device that may contain evidence of a serious offence.
‘Anyone who fails to comply with the order could face up to five years imprisonment.’
You wouldn’t want to be one of those people who constantly forgets their password then, would you? Failure to remember a capital letter could send you to the dog house for half a decade!
Then again, forgetting a password isn’t really a ‘failure to comply’, but rather an ‘inability’ to comply. Hopefully the legislation includes a way to smooth out these kinks.
And don’t think for a second this legislation will have the condition that only highly-suspected child offenders can be requested to unencrypt their files.
It won’t be long before political dissent becomes as serious a crime as Islamic blasphemy is in Pakistan.
And with this new law, just a single unfiltered Tweet under the influence of a couple of drinks could be all the evidence the courts need to put you behind bars.
Hopefully they keep all the paedophiles in a separate corridor.
PS: If you’re more than a few years away from retirement, your job could potentially be at risk of being automated. This free report details the changes you could expect to see in the workplace. And some steps you could take to ensure you — and your children — are well placed in the age of automation.