Australia poised to force tech firms to hand over encrypted data

Australia’s parliament is poised on Thursday to pass laws requiring tech firms such as Alphabet Inc’s Google, Facebook and Apple to give police access to private encrypted data linked to suspected illegal activities.

The laws, staunchly opposed by the tech giants since Australia is seen as a test case as other nations explore similar rules, provide for fines up to A$10 million ($7.3 million) for failing to give authorities access to private data.

They have the backing of both major political parties, with a bi-partisan parliamentary committee recommending their immediate passage late on Wednesday, clearing the way for Australia to be among the first nations to introduce such rules.

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