The Australian government is seeking to pass a bill into law that allows access to transactions and other information transmitted on blockchains.
The Bill known as “Assistance and Access” is meant to give the government three surveillance powers which include the liberty to voluntarily ask for assistance from any company to retrieve information, place a demand on any company to gain information and to build “backdoor features” in the technology to allow access to any information it requires without users’ consent.
This bill, though not a problem for centralised databases, will be a great setback to decentralised systems such as cryptocurrencies which are built on blockchain technology that is designed to thrive on privacy and protection from surveillance of any kind.
The move by the Australian government is not very surprising because many countries are seeking ways to monitor cryptocurrency transactions. Australia’s case is worse because of the incessant criminal activities in the country involving cryptocurrencies.
In September, it was reported that a man and his wife converted fraudulent money amounting to $300,000 into cryptocurrency and sent the amount to different wallets. It was also reported even more recently that scammers conned Australian citizens of $50,000 from a Bitcoin ATM.
These are serious issues that call for concern which may be part of the reason why the government seeks to monitor blockchain technology in the country.
Meanwhile a number of major technology companies including Facebook and Microsoft have written a notice against the proposed law. The notice which was addressed to the office of the Attorney General emphasised that the law will not be good for the business community in the country. It read:
“we continue to maintain that the current voluntary data breach notification arrangements are being put to good use by the Australian business community,”
A major negative impact of the law will be on the DApps market which has witnessed incredible growth sin 2017. According to statistics, the industry has a booming market with tens of thousands of daily users and a good number of new DApps coming into the market everyday. The passing of the bill to law will change everything about this market and turn it into something entirely, not to mention violation of users’ privacy.
It will therefore be wise to discourage the implementation of the bill to preserve the integrity of the blockchain technology in any way possible. It will be good for the blockchain industry if Facebook and Microsoft’s notice works.