- A new bill is being proposed in Australia that would give Government the power to request backend access to encrypted messages
- The bill could threaten the privacy for DApp users
- Facebook and Microsoft have responded with a four-page note to the government
The ‘Assistance and Access‘ bill is now being pushed in Australia and should it go forward, it would have a significant impact on blockchain use in the country as developers could be forced to put a backdoor into their project.
Essentially, this bill wants to ensure that the Australian government is given access to encrypted messages for surveillance purposes. Encrypted messaging is a feature which ensures that users’ messages are unable to be accessed by anyone, at times even the messaging service provider.
This feature has helped people feel more secure about messaging with ease. However, should this move forward in Australia, and then the rest of the world, it could mean a significant loss of privacy for citizens.
The bill in question comes in several parts.
- The ability to make a voluntary request for assistance from a company to get information.
- To be able to demand assistance from a company in getting information.
- To build new ‘backdoor features’ into the technology, which compromises user encryption.
One of the most appealing parts of blockchain technology for many users who used it for communication purposes through decentralized apps (DApps). With this potential change, consumers could see this benefit stripped from them.
The Importance of DApps
DApps, which are apps that function with blockchain technology, is one of the most popular applications that use blockchain technology, sometimes put on par with cryptocurrency.
The ease of functionality that DApps provide has not gone unnoticed by consumers with many blockchain companies clamoring to launch their own D’apps. On top of this, D’apps is one of the major ways that people communicate with each other in the blockchain space.
Passing a bill like this will not only serve as a huge blow to d’apps but to blockchain as a whole.
There are currently almost 2,000 dapps in operation and almost 13,000 daily users.
Tech sector in uproar
Since the news of this possible bill broke, there has been somewhat of a united response from the tech world.
Facebook and Microsoft came together to submitted a four-page notice to the Attorney General’s Department to oppose Australia’s bill through the Digital Industry Group Incorporated (DIGI).
The note stated that current data breach laws were being put to good use in Australia.
This has similarities to a 2016 incident in which Apple warned against the U.S government wanting to gain backdoor access to a school shooter’s phone, warning that it could set an unhealthy precedent of the government unethically violating user privacy.