The Australian Government is proposing to introduce new cybersecurity laws that will impose obligations on communications and technology companies to assist law enforcement agencies to decrypt the messages of suspected terrorists and criminals. According to the Government, encrypted communications now comprise more than 40% of all communications intercepted by counter-terrorism investigations in Australia. AttorneyGeneral George Brandis has stated that the inability to access communications under current laws is eroding the capacity of Australia's security agencies to gather and act on intelligence. The purpose of the new law will be to impose an obligation on device manufacturers and service providers to provide appropriate assistance to intelligence and law enforcements agencies on a warranted basis. Mr Brandis has indicated that the proposed new laws would draw on the UK's Investigatory Powers Act 2016, which allows authorities to serve 'technical capability notices' on relevant operators. These notices require such operators to 'provide and maintain the capability to disclose, where reasonably practicable, the content of communications or secondary data in an intelligible form and to remove electronic protection.' The Government's proposal has been met with criticism by a number of internet and technology companies. In particular, there are concerns the new laws will effectively require companies to build 'backdoors' into encryption system software in order to enable access for those who do not hold the encryption key. While such backdoors would provide access to law enforcement agencies, they may also render encrypted messages vulnerable to hackers. The Government has responded that it will not require the construction of these backdoors under the new laws, but has placed the onus on entities who provide end-to-end encryption services to devise a method for accessing encrypted communications. Draft legislation is expected to be introduced into Parliament by November 2017. A transcript of Attorney-General's press conference is available here.