Back in August, the Australian government proposed a bill named the "Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018." The proposed legislation would update the country's telecommunication laws and require firms in the private sector to "provide greater assistance to agencies." That could require a company like Apple to build a backdoor into the iPhone. One of the problems with the bill is that the wording isn't specific enough. Does "greater assistance" mean doing anything that the government asks a private sector firm to do?
Apple has responded with a seven page submission to the Australian Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. In the document, Apple requests that the wording be made clearer in order to understand what the intention of the bill is. The company also points out that the rising number of sophisticated criminal threats is exactly why it supports strong encryption.
Apple says that it has helped Australian law enforcement by handling 26,000 requests for data over the last five years. As a result, the company doesn't agree that weaker encryption is needed to help the police in Australia, and is expanding its training program for law enforcement in the country. Apple says that the proposed bill will weaken encryption and could compel manufacturers to "build systemic weaknesses into their products" due to the "breadth and vagueness of the bill's authorities" and "ill-defined restrictions."