Computer password laws being 'sneaked' through SA Parliament, Greens say

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 07:51:06 AM. The laws were sold as a further measure against child exploitation material, but the Greens worry they are being expanded to cover offences such as fraud.
Photo: People would be risking jail time if they refused to give police access to their phones passwords. The South Australian Government is "sneaking" through laws that would allow authorities to force users to hand over their phone and computer passwords during investigations into criminal offences, according to the Greens. Greens MLC Mark Parnell said the laws, currently before the state's Upper House, were attached to measures that would further crack down on streaming child exploitation material. But he believes that the latest measures would also allow a magistrate to give police the power to force a person to unlock their device upon suspicion it held evidence of a serious offence such as fraud, drug dealing or cyber bullying. That would be regardless of whether the device was protected by a password, a fingerprint scanner or facial recognition software. The legislation would also make it an offence to wipe the protected data, through the use of software like Apple's Find my iPhone, before police could gain access to it. People would be risking five years behind bars if they refuse to comply with a court order to give police access. "The Government is being a little bit sneaky in mixing these laws in with other laws that relate to child exploitation material," he said. "I really think this is a very important civil liberties issue that should be subject to a full debate in the community, rather than being rushed through parliament in the last couple sitting days...Read more
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