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Australia to force tech companies to help police access encrypted data

New laws in Australia will seek to force tech companies to help police access the encrypted data of suspected criminals.

The country's cyber security minister Angus Taylor has remained vague about what the changes will specifically mean, and refused to confirm or deny whether surveillance codes would be dropped into devices.

Speaking to Australia's ABC News, he said: "It includes whatever techniques are relevant, and that's how the current system works.

"It's not appropriate to have a world where we can do this for analogue data, analogue communication, but we can't do it in the digital world."

However, Mr. Taylor did insist that the laws wouldn't force companies to have a built-in back door to bypass the encryption.

He added: "There's been ideas around for decades that you should create some kind of key that law enforcement can get access to, to access any data at any time -- that's not what we're proposing here."

It's been revealed that draft legislation will be presented over the coming weeks, and this will be followed by a period of public consultation.

Meanwhile, the laws are set to apply to Australian telecommunications companies - including the likes of Telstra and Optus - and other international tech companies, such as Facebook, Apple and Google.

The firms will be made to comply, and will face major fines if they fail to do so.

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