[LINK] Believe him? I'd say he has his own agenda

JLWhitaker jwhit at internode.on.net
Wed Dec 12 18:17:32 AEDT 2018

Does this person understand software? Serious question.


Spy chief argues encryption laws target terrorists, not everyday 
Australians, in 'myth-busting' missive
By political editor Andrew Probyn

Posted 16 minutes ago

The head of one of Australia's secretive intelligence agencies has 
struck out at critics of Australia's freshly minted encryption laws, 
saying those claiming the new regime is dangerous are "hyperbolic, 
inaccurate and influenced by self-interest".

Key points:

     Australian Signals Directorate chief Mike Burgess enters public 
encryption debate
     A public statement addresses seven "myths" — criticisms and fears 
raised in the debate
     The controversial legislation passed the Parliament last week

In a rare, public statement, Mike Burgess has struck out at seven 
"myths", asserting it was important to correct the record and assure 
Australians on how the laws would work in practice.

Mr Burgess, the director-general of the Australian Signals Directorate, 
said the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance 
and Access) Act 2018, or TOLA Act, which Parliament approved last week, 
was "highly targeted" and directed at terrorists, paedophiles and 
criminals, not law-abiding Australians.

The TOLA Act gives security agencies new powers to compel 
telecommunication companies to allow access to encrypted data such as 
communication on messaging apps.

Answering "Myth #1", that information is no longer safe, Mr Burgess 
said: "Encryption is a good thing. It is an essential part of a safe, 
secure online experience."

He said the Government did not want to change that.

"But if two Australians are using a messaging app to plot a terrorist 
attack, it is clearly crucial for the relevant authorities to find out 
what they are saying," Mr Burgess said.

He said that agencies would have unfettered power under the encryption 
laws, with "significant checks and balances" including the need for a 

"Agencies can get a warrant to listen to the phone calls of criminals. 
Why shouldn't these same agencies be able to get assistance to read the 
encrypted messages of criminals when Australian lives and livelihoods 
are at stake?" he said.

Fears of 'backdoor access' to encrypted data dismissed

Mr Burgess dismissed suggestions the laws would "break the internet", in 
reference to critics who claim the laws allowed "backdoor" access to 
encrypted data.

"Agencies cannot use the legislation to ask or require companies to 
create systemic weaknesses which would jeopardise the communications of 
other users," he said.

"The director-general of security recently suggested an analogy where a 
terrorist is plotting an attack in a hotel room. The authority the 
police would get under the act is the equivalent of being able to ask 
the hotel for access to the room. The act does not give the police the 
power to demand a master key be made for all rooms."

He said ASD would not be able to use the laws to spy on Australians, 
emphasising that his was a foreign intelligence agency.

And he rejected claims that the laws would see the reputation of 
Australian tech companies suffer, referencing the banning of Chinese 
telco giant Huawei from Australia's 5G network, although he did not name 
the company.

"It's been repeatedly claimed that Australian tech companies will be 
regarded as no different to the high-risk foreign vendors that have been 
blocked from supplying equipment in Australian 5G networks," Mr Burgess 

"The comparison is absurd. High-risk vendors have been banned from 
Australia's 5G network because of the threat they pose when they could 
be subject to unbounded extrajudicial directions from a foreign government.

"It is not in any way an equivalent comparison to the highly targeted 
assistance that the Australian Government will be seeking under the TOLA 

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Twitter: @JL_Whitaker
Blog: www.janwhitaker.com

Sooner or later, I hate to break it to you, you're gonna die, so how do you fill in the space between here and there? It's yours. Seize your space.
~Margaret Atwood, writer

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