Extract from Georgina Torbet’s article “Encryption-Busting Law in Australia May Have Global Privacy Implications”
New legislation from Australia could have global consequences for security and privacy on the internet. Controversial laws have been passed which oblige tech companies to allow the police to access encrypted messages, undermining the privacy of encryption.
End-to-end encryption is used by apps like iMessage, WhatApp, Telegram, and Signal to keep messages between users private. It works by taking the message that you are sending and using a string of digits, called a public key, to turn this message into scrambled characters. These scrambled characters are then sent to the recipient, who uses another string of digits, called their private key, to turn the message back into readable text. This means that if your message is intercepted at any point, all that the hackers will be able to see is the scrambled characters. The only person who can read the message is the recipient, who is the only one holding the private key required for decryption.