Politics

Here’s How You Can Contact Your MP About The Encryption Bill

This bill could pass in hours. If you want a say, do this now.

If you’re concerned about the government’s proposed encryption bill, time’s running out to stop it. It’s the last day of Parliament for 2018, and the government’s trying to push its legislation through today — in fact, Parliament’s already started debating it. If you want to join the last minute push to contact MPs and tell them to block the bill, you need to act now.

We’ve explained everything you need to know about the encryption bill here, which you can read if you’re not sure what’s going on. In short, the government is trying to expand law enforcement agencies’ powers to compel tech companies to help them access suspected criminals’ communications. Tech experts say there’s no way to do that without harming security for everyone. They also say the current bill is rushed, incomplete, and dangerously vague, and that we need to step back and think about the ramifications before making it law.

And yet at the moment, Labor and the government look like they’ll be uniting to pass this law today. If you’re worried about that and want to make sure your voice is heard, you need to act fast to contact your MP right now. Here’s how:

You’ll want to contact a Labor or crossbench MP in either the House or the Senate (the government introduced the legislation, and there’s relatively little chance of getting them to oppose it, though good luck to you if you reckon you can get someone to cross the floor). Digital rights organisation Electronic Frontiers Australia has put together a page where you can search your address to find your local representative, and they’ve got a guide on what to tell them.

The shortest version will take you five minutes: all you need do is call your MP and tell them you’re against the Assistance and Access bill, and that you’re concerned about the damage it will do. If you want to say more about the specific harms you’re worried about, go for it.

You can find a great Twitter thread explaining some of the reasons you might want to oppose the bill here. Some of these include:

  • The Australian tech industry has voiced concerns that the proposed laws will cause some tech companies to leave the Australian market altogether, which has the potential to destroy a whole lot of jobs.
  • Experts are still concerned that these laws are going to force tech companies to create vulnerabilities that will harm privacy and security for everyone using a given app or service, because in some cases there’s no other way to provide law enforcement with the access they need.
  • Even if you agree that law enforcement agencies need greater powers to access the communications of terrorists and suspected criminals, it’s hard to argue that these laws aren’t being rushed. A committee examining the potential problems with the laws only handed down its final report yesterday evening, which gives most MPs less than a day to carefully consider what they’re voting for.

If any of that sounds like a problem to you, you’ve got a very small window of time today to call your MP. Don’t procrastinate on this one, do it now.