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Tech companies could face fines of up to Aus$10 million (US$7.3 million) if they fail to hand over customer information or data to Australian police under tough cyber laws unveiled Tuesday.
The government is updating its communication laws to compel local and international providers to co-operate with law enforcement agencies, saying criminals were using technology, including encryption, to hide their activities.
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The legislation, first canvassed by Canberra last year, will take into account privacy concerns by "expressly" preventing the weakening of encryption or the introduction of so-called backdoors, Cyber Security Minister Angus Taylor said.
Taylor said over the past year, some 200 operations involving serious criminal and terrorism-related investigations were negatively impacted by the current laws.
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"We know that more than 90 percent of data lawfully intercepted by the Australian Federal Police now uses some form of encryption," he added in a statement.
"We must ensure our laws reflect the rapid take-up of secure online communications by those who seek to do us harm."
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The laws have been developed in consultation with the tech and communications industries and Taylor stressed that the government did not want to "break the encryption systems" of companies.
"The (law enforcement) agencies are convinced we can get the balance right here," he told broadcaster ABC.
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