The Turnbull government plans to crack down on criminals using encrypted apps to escape detection but won’t say yet how it will do it.
Legislation is expected to be introduced in coming weeks to give police, intelligence and security agencies the ability to access the encrypted data of suspected terrorists, paedophiles or others.
Cyber Security Minister Angus Taylor said companies must be able to encrypt information, but law enforcement should still have access in a way that would not create a backdoor for hackers.
Encryption is used as a security tool for personal banking platforms and some messaging services.
“We must ensure that law enforcement doesn’t lose access to the data and information they need to prevent terror attacks or crimes and to hold criminals and terrorists to account,” Mr Taylor told ABC radio.
But he wouldn’t reveal what techniques would be used to access encrypted data, refusing to answer questions about whether might include installing surveillance code on devices.
He would say only that there were “all sorts of ways” that law enforcement could access data without creating a backdoor weakness for hackers and others.
The laws will apply to telcos such as Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. They will also apply to tech service providers, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Apple and Google.
Mr Taylor said there would be more discussions about technical aspects once the legislation was introduced to parliament.