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New Australia bill gives police power to spy on WhatsApp messages

IANS  |  Sydney/New Delhi 

is mulling a that gives enforcement agencies power to track messages on platforms like and that offer end-to-end and also to force users to open their when demanded, a media report said.

The controversial bill comes amid allegations of encrypted platforms facilitating spread of rumours, hate speech and even criminal activities like child trafficking and drugs businesses.

In countries like India, messages circulated in have been linked to several lynching cases, forcing the government to ask platform to take suitable preventive action.

But the new bill also raises privacy concerns as under the proposed legislation, the agencies could compel companies to build spyware.

The proposed laws could force companies to remove electronic protections, assist government agencies in accessing material from a suspect's device, and in getting technical information such as design specifications to help in an investigation, News.com.au reported on Wednesday.

Critics have slammed the bill for being broad in scope, vague and potentially damaging to the security of the global digital economy, the report said, adding that a on Intelligence and Security has been scrutinizing the bill.

The laws will help security agencies nab terrorists, child sex offenders and other serious criminals, Australia's was quoted as saying.

About 95 per cent of people currently being surveilled by security agencies are using encrypted messages, he added.

The spying powers are limited to only "serious offences" such as preventing terrorism and tackling organised crime in Australia, dailymail.co.uk reported.

In a statement to IANS, said it cares deeply about the privacy of its users.

"WhatsApp cares deeply about the privacy of our users and we remain committed to providing end-to-end encryption," a said on Wednesday.

WhatsApp has challenged government attempts to curtail the use of end-to-end in the past, most notably in

--IANS

na/mr

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, December 05 2018. 20:48 IST
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