Officials from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand will discuss next month plans to force tech companies to break encryption on their products.
The so-called Five Eyes nations have a long-standing agreement to gather and share intelligence from across the globe. They will meet in Canada with a focus on how to prevent "terrorists and organized criminals" from "operating with impunity ungoverned digital spaces online," according to Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.
In the most forthright call yet from a national leader to break encryption, Turnbull told Parliament: "The privacy of a terrorist can never be more important than public safety – never."
Turnbull's comments reflect a more vague but similar response from UK prime minister Theresa May earlier this week in which she said she was focused on "giving the police and the authorities the powers they need to keep our country safe." And the UK authorities have already put in a legislative placeholder for breaking encryption into Blighty's Investigatory Powers Act. Australia's administration is rather enamored with that new UK law, and hopes to implement it Down Under.