Is your business prepared for the new encryption laws?

Is your business prepared for the new encryption laws?

Early in December 2018, both Houses of Parliament in Australia swiftly passed the controversial Telecommunications and Other Amendments (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018 (the Bill). The Bill received Royal Assent on 8 December 2018 and is now a valid law (referred to as ‘the Act’ in this article).

A large number of security experts have commented that the Act could have significant implications with respect to the invasion of an individual’s privacy.

The Act gives wide-reaching powers to Australian intelligence agencies and officers of the Federal and State police to issue notices and warrants to a ‘designated communications provider’, compelling it to provide assistance and access to authenticated or encrypted communications and data.

The expansive definition of designated communications provider has been the subject of many contentious debates amongst government bodies and businesses operating in the technology and communications space. It captures almost anyone involved in communication and technology related services, including many start-ups and other fast growing Australian businesses who quite reasonably rely on encryption technology and the collection and processing of its customers’ data in order to scale.

We have written a comprehensive guide to address a number of key issues, how the main provisions in the Act apply and what businesses can do to navigate these new laws. Our guide covers the following questions:

  • Who is a ‘designated communications provider’?
  • What kind of assistance is required?
  • What kind of technical notices and orders can be issued to a business or individual?
  • What are the penalties for non-compliance?
  • What are the exceptions for non-compliance?
  • Will a business or individual subjected to a notice be exempt from third party civil proceedings?
  • What are our recommendations and strategies to minimise the impact?


marshalls+dent+wilmoth has lawyers who can assist you to navigate the new encryption laws and changing privacy landscape. Please do not hesitate to contact us on (03) 9670 5000.

This article was written by Commercial and Tech Lawyer Zuong Dang.

DISCLAIMER: We accept no responsibility for any action taken after reading this article. It is intended as a guide only and is not a substitute for the expert legal advice you can get from marshalls+dent+wilmoth and other relevant experts.