'Five Eyes' talks to focus on encryption: Australian PM

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 13, 2017 1:30 AM

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Officials from the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand will meet next month to discuss plans to press technology firms to share encrypted data with security agencies, Australia's prime minister said on Tuesday.

The meeting of the so-called Five Eyes intelligence-sharing coalition in Canada would focus on how to ensure "terrorists and organized criminals are not able to operate with impunity in ungoverned digital spaces online", Malcolm Turnbull said.

"The privacy of a terrorist can never be more important than public safety - never," he said in parliament.

Technology companies like Facebook Inc and Apple Inc have come under growing pressure to share encrypted information to prevent terror attacks.

Apple and Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but both companies have previously resisted sharing such information citing privacy concerns.

Turnbull's comments echo that of British Prime Minister Theresa May who said on June 4 that international cooperation and regulation was needed to remove the "safe space" that allowed extremists to thrive online.

"We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace," she said.

Australia has seen a series of lone-wolf Islamist-inspired attacks recently, prompting a review of police tactics.

Turnbull last week signaled a drive to reform parole laws, including a ban on parole for violent offenders with links to militancy, following a deadly siege claimed by the Islamic State group.

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Stephen Coates)