Senate debates

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Motions

Cybersecurity

3:56 pm

Jordon Steele-John (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

  (i) strong digital encryption protects the personal and financial information of millions of people,

  (ii) encryption is an important tool to prevent identity theft and other crime,

  (iii) encryption ensures that public interest whistleblowers, journalists and other civil society actors can conduct their activities more securely,

  (iv) the Government, through services such as Medicare and Centrelink, and digital platforms such as myGov, depends on encryption to keep client information safe, and

  (v) any decrease in public trust in digital systems and services will present an obstacle to the Government's agile innovation agenda; and

(b) calls on the Government to:

  (i) support the continued development and use of strong encryption technologies,

  (ii) resist any push from other governments to weaken encryption on personal devices, and

  (iii) work with law enforcement to develop alternative avenues to obtain information through warrants and targeted surveillance that does not put every Australian at greater risk of identity theft.

3:57 pm

Photo of James McGrathJames McGrath (Queensland, Liberal National Party, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is granted for one minute.

Photo of James McGrathJames McGrath (Queensland, Liberal National Party, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

The Australian government supports the use of strong encryption, which underpins the security of sensitive government, commercial and personal information. However, the government is concerned about the use of encrypted communications and storage platforms by terrorist organisations, organised crime groups, child exploitation networks and others involved in serious criminal activity. Addressing this challenge requires a multifaceted approach, including closer cooperation between industry and agencies—where it is reasonable and proportionate—and ensuring agencies have alternative powers and capabilities. The government is not proposing to mandate back doors or weak encryption for all users. This is about targeted access to information via lawful process.

Question agreed to.