Australia to mandate police access to encrypted messages

A security update message is seen on a Whatsapp message in this illustration photo April 6, 2016. (Reuters file photo)

SYDNEY -- The Australian government announced Friday it will introduce new laws that will compel social media companies like Google and Facebook help law enforcement access encrypted online messages from suspected terrorists and criminals.

Speaking at a joint press conference with the attorney general, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the new laws would be used to assist Australian Federal Police in circumventing barriers that encryption places when investigating terrorist plots, drug trafficking rings and child exploitation groups.

The government is expected to introduce the new laws to parliament before the end of the year.

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