The Australian House of Representatives has passed its anti-encryption bill. We don’t yet know for certain how software developers and technology companies will respond to requests to install backdoors in messaging software, for instance. But now is the time (if not too late) to pay attention to your privacy and start locking down your systems. To start, if your principal means of digital communication is produced by a profit-oriented corporation – for example Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp (also owned by Facebook), Android/Google Messages or Apple iMessages – seriously consider moving your communications to an open-source, non-profit and community-supported tool such as Signal. These tools undergo more scrutiny from privacy and security professionals and grassroots activists so are less likely to quickly cave in to government demands. The user interface for Signal will look familiar to WhatsApp users, and Signal is generally well regarded by people who care about information security.
This is just the start – there will be plenty more to discuss and advise on in the coming months.
Update: Signal has explained why they can’t (and wouldn’t) include a backdoor.