Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull\u2019s favourite secure messaging app Wickr is among the 76 organisations and individuals that have signed an open letter today calling on his government to reject its plans to \u2018undermine strong encryption\u2019.\nWickr, Twilio, ThoughtWorks, Linux Australia, Startpage.com and a slew of digital rights, civil liberties and privacy organisations signed the open letter to the Attorney-General Christian Porter and Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor. They are calling on government \u201cnot to pursue legislation that would undermine tools, policies, and technologies critical to protecting individual rights, safeguarding the economy, and providing security both in Australia and around the world\u201d.\nThe government is adding the finishing touches to proposed legislation that it says will boost the ability of law enforcement agencies to access communications sent via encrypted services.\nIt remains unclear how this would be achieved. Both the PM and keycyber security advisor Alastair MacGibbonhave said the government it is not interested in\u2018backdoors\u2019 for security agency access to communications services.\nHowever, Turnbull\u2019s definition of a backdoor is fairly specific: an unknown vulnerability.\nIt seems likely the responsibility for undermining end-to-end encryption will be put in the hands of service providers. Taylor said last month that the government would not be seeking decryption keys.\n\u201cWhile the apparent commitment to avoid an escrow system for encryption keys is a positive step, we note that, generally speaking, all known methods of bypassing, altering, or watering down security tools or technologies to provide law enforcement access have been shown to carry severe risk,\u201d the open letter, additionally signed by a number of academics, lawyers and business people, states.\nWhile the approach the government will pursue is not yet known, there have been suggestions providers would need to guarantee access to messages but not detail their precise methods, or otherwise adhere to a \u2018mandatory decryption requirement\u2019.\n\u201cAdopting either of these requirements would be a mistake,\u201d the letter says.\nDecryption Waterloo\nTurnbull once lauded Wickr as the epitome of secure communications. He is believed to have used it to discuss the September 2015 revoltagainst then-prime minister Tony Abbott with allies.\nThe app, according to some infosec commentators, could \u201cbecome his decryption Waterloo\u201d.\n"We must keep the dialogue open on how we protect our personal, business, and government data against hacking threats which are growing more sophisticated, scalable, and cheap,\u201d said Joel Wallenstrom, CEO of Wickr in a statement today.\n\u201cIt is no time to limit Australia\u2019s options in securing its economy, critical infrastructure, and business communications. It is unrealistic to expect effective law enforcement when our digital systems become porous and vulnerable due to weakened encryption.\u201d\nWallenstrom\u2019s comments were backed by digital rights not-for-profit Access Now.\n\u201cAustralia is facing a choice on cybersecurity and encryption: real security or false. The country can either be the testing ground for policies that undermine privacy and security in the digital era, or it can be a champion for human rights, leveraging its relationships to raise cybersecurity standards for the next generation. The world is watching,\u201d said Access Now senior legislative manager Nathan White.