Turnbull calls for security agency access to encrypted apps

Encrypted services such as WhatsApp need to open up access to security agencies, PM says

In the wake of the London terror attacks, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called for “global social media and messaging companies” to provide access for security agencies to encrypted communications services.

The PM said that “global social media and messaging companies” should provide access to encrypted messaging services such as WhatsApp and Apple iMessage.

Turnbull told journalists yesterday that there is “too much tolerance of extremist material on social media” and dealing with it “ultimately, requires cooperation from the big social media platforms, in particular, Facebook and Twitter”.

The prime minister’s comments follow those from British Prime Minister Theresa May who called for increased regulation of Internet services in the wake of the attacks.

Turnbull’s British counterpart said that the “evil ideology of Islamist extremism”, which she said is “an ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth”, has to be denied the “safe space it needs to breed”.

“Yet that is precisely what the internet – and the big companies that provide internet-based services – provide,” May said.

Apple and the FBI last year clashed over attempts to break encryption on an iPhone owned by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino attack in the US. The FBI abandoned its legal efforts to compel Apple to break into the handset after it found an alternative means to access data on the iPhone.

Australia’s national cyber security strategy states that encryption “presents challenges for Australian law enforcement and security agencies in continuing to access data essential for investigations to keep all Australians safe and secure”.

“Government agencies are working to address these challenges,” states the document, which was released last year.