back to article Oz intel committee: Crypto-busting is only bad if you're a commie, and we're not by the way

Tech vendors: don't worry about Australian law enforcement demanding you decrypt user messages. It's OK, because we're not a communist regime. That's the upshot of a real exchange in the the powerful Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security conducting hearings into the country's crypto-busting "Assistance and …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. bryces666

    But Australia runs detention centres much like you would expect of a communist regime!

    1. Denarius Silver badge


      @Bryce* Not quite. Commies punish those trying to leave. We detain those trying to enter. So we are are not a totalitarian state. One can hope todays ex-PM replacement election might disturb the Force of the dark side. OTOH, St Julians latest exploit also sounds like an equivalent skit from the Goodies.

  3. EricM

    The trend towards intellectually inadequate governments continues...

    in western countries at least .. UK, US, Australia/NZm Germany, etc. .. just trying to legislate their wishful thinking

    Complex problems are met by stupid legislation pushed with stupid arguments by individuals that do not even seem to grasp what they are asking for, that take wishful thinking over real solutions.

    It seems that individuals trained in law, economics administration or education, the traditional fields of politicians in western societies, are just not able to really understand century problems - let alone solve them.

    Guess we need more engineers and scientists in politics ...

    @ElReg Readers: Yes, I mean YOU...

    1. GrumpyKiwi

      Re: The trend towards intellectually inadequate governments continues...

      Modern-era politics is where you go if you have no other talents in life. Groomed into it from the moment you enter university for an Arts or Communications Degree while becoming a member of the Young-XXXX party wing followed by a "career" of toadying, butt sniffing and PR.

      Your typical El'Reg reader doesn't fit into that category.

  4. VikiAi


    I knew I should have packed that sports almanac before going back to the 20th century!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hashes are not encryption

    > They store hashes of the password – encryption again! -

    WTF? Hashing is not encryption.

    While it's often used for part of an encryption process, it's also used for plenty of non-encryption things.

    1. Cpt Blue Bear

      Re: Hashes are not encryption

      "WTF? Hashing is not encryption."

      Actually if you take a broad, layman's definition (and we are dealing with some of the layest of laymen here) it is. A quick shuftie at Google suggests something like: the process of converting information into code to prevent unauthorised access. That sounds like hashing to me.

      1. DropBear

        Re: Hashes are not encryption

        "the process of converting information into code to prevent unauthorised access"

        There are rather huge differences though - "encryption" usually kinda implies that the information can be recovered, which is not the case with hashing which is simply a fingerprint of that hashed data. Nothing can be recovered from it, it can only be compared to other hashes (usually produced from what you suspect the password might be).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hashes are not encryption

        > The process of converting information into code to prevent unauthorised access.

        Well, if that's your definition of encryption, then this is encryption too:

        $ cat somefile.txt > /dev/null; echo "0xDEADBEEF" > somefile.txt

        The file is now permanently "encrypted".

        1. Cpt Blue Bear

          Re: Hashes are not encryption

          "There are rather huge differences though..."


          "Well, if that's your definition of encryption..." *

          I think you have both missed my point. Its not my definition that is important here. Its the definition used by Oz lawmakers - a group well known for playing fast and loose with definitions.

          That definition came from a Google search. I was a little surprised at how vague it was myself, but it is the sort of wording that non-technical people are going to use.

          * Actually its not - you are replacing information not converting it. But again, that is not my point.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hashes are not encryption

            > Actually its not - you are replacing information not converting it. But again, that is not my point.

            Huh? This is exactly what I was pointing out. Hashing replaces (loses) information.

            My original comment is that the author of the article here on El Reg should know better than to say hashing is encryption. The author being somewhat technically inclined (I thought), unlike the politicians you're talking about.

  6. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    We're not a communist regime

    Neither is China -- it's a tyranny (in the Roman sense of the word) with an all-powerful king at the top barking out orders for courtiers to put into practice. A bit like Soviet Russia, in fact, or Nazi Germany.

    If you look at what these regimes *did* rather than the bullshit they *said* about it, then there never were any communist regimes. But tyrannical bastard control freaks who want their jackboot on everyone's neck? Yeah, history has *lots* of those and technology is making it easier and easier for people like Mr Hastie to set up the necessary infrastructure and institutions, whether they are smart enough to appreciate the consequences or not.

    The Americans in the 1780s had the right idea. You need to assume the worst and then explicitly design in mechanisms to prevent it. Then, for the rest of Time, the people who administer the system need to take the attitude that they *might* be evil.

    1. Woodnag

      Re: We're not a communist regime

      The US systems relies on the various parts of the system (legislature, congress, reps, justice dept) ensuring practice of separation of powers. For example, El Pres. being required to get Congress' consent to declare war. Not working so well right now.

  7. onefang

    The government just lost it's slender majority, so hopefully that'll slow down the various stupidities.

    1. kartstar

      I'm not across exactly how a law like this goes through parliament. Will it need to go back through the house again? Or will it go straight to the senate? I was under the impression it's been voted through the house once. Hopefully it needs to go through the house again and my new local MP (Kerryn Phelps) votes to block it.

    2. GrumpyOldBloke

      Stand for nothing Bill has repeatedly said - bi partisan on national security. If the LNP wraps it up in the flag then Labor will vote for it. It's only a pretend duopoly.

  8. FozzyBear

    It appears even industry experts are now dashing themselves against this idiocy. Every reasoned argument is now met with gross ignorance. This legislation appears to have the hallmarks of passing into law even against the mountain of common sense.I'm sick and tried of apologising for the gross stupidity of our politicians.

    Instead I'm thinking a guillotine set on top of parliament house, with a nice long line of of these imbeciles (aka politicians). Those long grassy slopes should allow for a good build of speed.

    1. GrumpyOldBloke

      They fenced off the grassy knoll remember. National security!

  9. The Central Scrutinizer

    Maybe tbe Wentworth by-election on Saturday *might* slow down the stupidity. Hard to say. This government does not give a shit about facts. Look at their non-efforts on climate change. Anti encryption legislation is just one more to add to the list.

    Be really interesting to see them try to ban stuff like Tor, VPNs etc. or get overseas companies to comply with their stupid law.

    Hmm let's see.... Tor, VPNs, Signal, Telegram, WhatsApp, TAILS, the list goes on.

    Good luck, dickheads.

  10. fraunthall

    No, they're not Commies, just good, old-fashioned Fascists - Nothing to worry about here

    They may not be Commies - but they surely are Fascists. Of course, that makes it OK in the Australian Orwellian political world of Double-Think. Jamal Khashoggi should have gone to the Australian Consulate for help - Yeah, Sure.

  11. FooCrypt


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