Warnings have been issued by Telstra that device vendors could skip Australia due to the encryption laws of the nation, resulting in local firms uncompetitive.
With vendors normally sharing technical info with telcos prior to launching products to test them, Telstra stated that the requirements in the encryption laws provoking them to share that information with interception agencies could see Australia being skipped, as well as, Telstra abandoning its contractual confidentiality obligations.
The company stated in a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence & Security’s encryption law review that this has the potential of adversely affecting the competitiveness of telecom providers of Australia in international markets, as well as, their ability to deploy the latest tech developments (such as new Artificial Intelligence, Smartphones, and Internet of Things devices).
International vendors might also be simply refusing to supply new tech or devices to the designated communications providers of Australia.
The Australian mandatory telco also called for the extension of immunities to any downstream 3rd party providers. Telstra stated that secrecy provisions in the laws meant one of its suppliers could have had a notice issued & equipment modified, however, the changes could make Telstra’s systems or network run slower.
It stated that such adverse effects could be inclusive of network faults, service degradation, or other impacts on non-target customers or its business.
While the immunity provisions of the framework would shield the designated communications providers providing the capability/assistance under a TAN, TAR, or TCN, there is no protection for if they or their customers are unfavorably impacted by the usage of that ‘modified’ piece of software or equipment.
Technical Assistance Requests (TAR) are voluntary requests for the designated communications providers to utilize their existing capabilities for accessing user communications.
Technical Assistance Notices (TAN) are mandatory notices to utilize an existing capability.
Technical Capability Notices (TCN) are obligatory notices for a DCP for building a new interception capability.