MANILA, Philippines - In a meeting held in Australia last week, the Five Eyes group of nations reportedly called tech companies to aid government spy agencies by creating a backdoor that would legally allow them to access encrypted calls or messages.
The international group of nations, composed of UK, US, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, issued a memo that claims both tech companies and governments have a “mutual responsibility” to provide access to communication data. (READ: How governments are cracking down on encryption and anonymity)
"Providers of information and communications technology and services – carriers, device manufacturers or over-the-top service providers – are subject to the law, which can include requirements to assist authorities to lawfully access data, including the content of communications,” the memo read.
Five Eyes, meanwhile, warned companies that they may face consequences in case they choose not to cooperate to their demands.
“Should governments continue to encounter impediments to lawful access to information necessary to aid the protection of the citizens of our countries, we may pursue technological, enforcement, legislative or other measures to achieve lawful access solutions.”
With growing concerns of privacy, tech companies often encrypt data to protect it from unauthorized access. Facebook Messenger, for instance, has an end-to-end encryption which means only the sender and receiver have access to their messages.
The memo, however, claims that “privacy is not absolute.” It adds that authorities have the legal right to access private information if they deem so.
According to TechCrunch, the Five Eyes intelligence alliance was created to collect and share intelligence among the five countries, using each one’s strategic locations to monitor the rest of the world’s communication.