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  1. Apple, Google and Microsoft have denounced the Australian government’s decision to pass an anti-encryption law that they claim undermines cybersecurity and human rights. The Assistance and Access Bill, passed in Australian parliament last week, allows authorities to force companies and websites to reduce encryption so that the government can increase surveillance on personal communications. Any businesses that do not comply with the law, which the Silicon Valley giants have said is “deeply flawed”, will be fined. The technology companies, which are part of the Reform Government Surveillance coalition (RGS), said in a joint statement that the law needs to change to safeguard online security and the right to privacy of citizens. “The new Australian law is deeply flawed, overly broad, and lacking in adequate independent oversight over the new authorities," the joint statement said. “RGS has consistently opposed any government action that would undermine the cybersecurity, human rights, or the right to privacy of our users – unfortunately, the Assistance and Access Bill that was just passed through the Australian Parliament will do just that.” The RGS, which also includes LinkedIn, Snap, Dropbox, Twitter and Yahoo, has urged the Australian Parliament to promptly address these flaws when it reconvenes in the new year. The new encryption law was pushed through the Australian parliament as it was deemed essential for fighting terrorism is the country and keeping national security, as it would allow authorities to snoop on the messages of criminals using Whatsapp and other communication apps. Apple first denounced the legislation in October, saying it will “weaken security for millions of law-abiding customers” so the government can investigate a few criminals. Technology companies have also raised concerns the law could set a precedent forother countries to bring in similar legislation for their citizens. Source
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