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Data Privacy & Security

Australia - "Encryption bill" published with new rules proposed for Telcos and OTTs


The Australian government on 13 August 2018 published the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill. This Bill will bring important changes to the regulation of electronic communication services in Australia.

 This proposed new law enables national security agencies and law enforcement bodies to deliver either a request ("technical assistance request") or a requirement ("technical assistance notice" or "technical capability notice") that will require a "designated communications provider" (a widely defined term that will include traditional teleco carriers as well as OTT providers and their suppliers) to give information/access and/or install capabilities in its systems for the purposes of law enforcement or national security. These proposed provisions will apply to domestic and foreign designated communications providers in so far as their products or services have a nexus with Australia.

There are controls regarding what may be required. The agencies must also issue a warrant if they wish to use the "assistance" or "capability" for a law enforcement or national security purpose.

A copy of the bill is here and the explanatory memorandum is here. You can also read the background to the bill on the Department of Home Affair's website here.

We are currently advising affected clients on the implications and how best to prepare.