Talking end-to-end encryption on ABC RN Breakfast

ABC logoAustralia is opening a new campaign in the seemingly never-ending Cyptowars. This time, the target is end-to-end encryption.

Our favourite attorney-general, Senator George Brandis QC, wants “the cooperation of companies like Apple and Facebook and Google and so on” to help the government break into encrypted communications. That cooperation would presumably extend to messaging apps that use end-to-end encryption, such as WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, and so on.

And cooperation would be ensured, thanks to new legal sanctions.

Brandis says he’s not interested in putting mandatory “back door” access into the encryption used by messaging platforms. But how can that be true when he’s asking for the tech companies to be able to provide access to customers’ encrypted messages? That’s exactly what a back door is.

Anyway, this morning I was interviewed on this topic by Fran Kelly on the ABC’s RN Breakfast. We spoke for more than seven minutes.

Play

The audio is ©2017 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and is being served directly from the ABC website.

For more analysis, try George Brandis’s salvo in cryptowars could blow a hole in architecture of the internet, by the Guardian’s Paul Farrell.

Operation Sovereign Borders, sinister and banal [blogjune05]

An Australian bureaucrat reacts to allegations that Operation Sovereign Borders removes safety gear from lifeboats: click to embiggenThis man’s name is Mick Kinley, and he’s shrugging with indifference at allegations that safety equipment is deliberately removed from the lifeboats used to return asylum seekers to Indonesia. But that OK, he’s the acting chief executive officer of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

I’ve never met Kinley. I know nothing of his work apart from this incident. But do we really need any further context? The bureaucrat in charge of maritime safety is challenged over what sounds like a breach of maritime safety, but, you know, “Whatever.”

I believe this is what’s called the banality of evil.

Hang on, I’d better scroll back a bit…

Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB) is the Australian government’s grand-sounding name for the grubby process of intercepting any boats at sea that contain asylum seekers and returning them to Indonesia. They’re put into standard orange lifeboats towed behind our ships, and once they’re within a certain distance of Indonesia they’re cast off and left to find their own way hone.

But as The Guardian’s Paul Farrell reported on 7 May, safety equipment is removed from those lifeboats beforehand — ropes, scissors, knives, a mirror, fishing line and even buckets.

On 27 May, Kinley was questioned about this in the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee by Senator Stephen Conroy, who was clearly unimpressed. You can read the transcript — the relevant exchange starts on page 86 — but you should really watch the video to see the body language for yourself.

Actually, it’s worth picking up the story a little before that video starts, on page 84…

Continue reading “Operation Sovereign Borders, sinister and banal [blogjune05]”

Links for 08 November 2009 through 18 November 2009

Stilgherrian’s links for 08 November 2009 through 18 November 2009:

See what happens when you don’t curate your links for ten days, during which time there’s a conference which generates a bazillion things to link to? Sigh.

This is such a huge batch of links that I’ll start them over the fold. They’re not all about Media140 Sydney, trust me.

Continue reading “Links for 08 November 2009 through 18 November 2009”