Source: ZDnet
By  | Topic: Security

The head of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), Mike Burgess, has lashed out at tech giants for running interference and handing a free pass to Australia’s adversaries and “some of the worst people in our society”.

“Through the use of encryption social media and tech companies are, in effect, creating a maintaining a safe space for terrorists and spies,” Burgess told Senate Estimates on Tuesday.

“It’s extraordinary how corporations that suck up and sell vast amounts of personal data without a warrant or meaningful oversight can cite a right to privacy to impede a counterterrorism investigation by an agency operating with a warrant or rigorous oversight.”

Unlike his counterparts at the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Burgess did not go so far as to rule out all legitimate reasons for using encryption.

“Encryption is a fundamental force for good as a society, we need to be able to shop, bank, and communicate online with confidence. But even a force for good can be hijacked exploited and abused,” the director-general said.

“In the case of encryption, we need to recognise how it is being used by terrorist and spies. End to end encryption is degrading our ability to protect Australia and Australians from threats, from the greatest threats.”