by Cindy Huynh
The Australian government has proposed an “Assistance and Access” bill that will provide them with greater surveillance powers such as the ability to gain backdoor access to any encrypted messages. According to Forbes, if the surveillance bill becomes a law, it could be a new standard for other countries in the world, which could cause extreme problems and implications for the global blockchain community.
Australian Bill Can Destroy Individual Privacy
The three new surveillance powers included in the bill would give authorities the ability to make a voluntary request for assistance from a company to retrieve information, to demand assistance from a company to gain information, and to build “backdoor features” into the technology. With these powers, commentators fear that citizens could lose their right to online privacy.
While the “Assistance and Access” bill can work in conjunction with centralized entities, where all the data and information is centralized, this is a challenge for decentralized applications that use blockchain technology.
Decentralized applications built on the blockchain network are designed to be resistant to censorship, surveillance, and disruption. If passed, the Australian bill could threaten everything for which distributed ledger technology (DLT) stands.
Legal Compliance Will Be Difficult with DApps
According to the State of the DApps, as of October 8, 2018, there are currently 1,956 DApps 12,130 daily active users, 60,770 24 hour transactions, and 2,8509 smart contracts. There is also a healthy number of new DApps growing every month in a number of different categories ranging from cryptocurrency exchanges, gambling, games, finance, to media, social, identity, and insurance.
(Source: State of the DApps)
If passed, Australia’s proposed surveillance law could threaten the entire industry. It’s uncertain what would happen to DApps as the majority of people on the network refuse to abide by the government’s request. Since it’s extremely difficult, almost impossible for the government to take over the network, many questions arise.
It’s unclear what the future of privacy and surveillance laws will look like in Australia. If, however, the bill manages to pass, it could mean a lot of trouble, not only for DApp developers, investors, and the blockchain community but for anyone who recognizes the importance of personal privacy.