Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said his government\u2019s effort to access encrypted communications is \u201cnot about creating or exploiting back doors\u201d.\nIn a national security statement today, Turnbull said that encrypted messaging apps were frequently used by \u201ccriminals and terrorists\u201d but \u201cat the moment, much of this traffic is difficult for our security agencies to decrypt\u201d.\n \nCiting the dispute between Apple and the FBI in which the FBI sought to force Apple to unlock an iPhone belonging to an individual responsible for the mass shooting in San Bernadino, California in 2015, Turnbull said: \u201cThe privacy of a terrorist can never be more important than public safety \u2013 never\u201d.\n \nTurnbull and Attorney-General George Brandis have indicated they intend to introduce new laws to compel encrypted messaging apps to give access to security agencies.\n \nOn Sunday, Brandis indicated the government wants to impose \u201cobligations of cooperation upon the corporates\u201d behind popular encrypted communications services.\n \n\u201cMy concern is the existing laws ... don't go far enoughhellip;\u201d Brandis told Sky News on Sunday.\n \nThe Attorney-General will travel to Canada in two weeks for a meeting with security and intelligence officials from Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States \u2013 Five Eyes \u2013 to \u201cdiscuss what more can be done among our like-minded nations and with the communications and technology industry to ensure that terrorists and organised criminals are not able to operate with impunity in ungoverned digital spaces online,\u201d Turnbull said.\n \n\u201cThis is not about creating or exploiting back doors, as some privacy advocates continue to say, despite constant reassurance from us. It is about collaboration with and assistance from industry in the pursuit of public safety,\u201d Turnbull told the House of Representatives.\n \nThe Prime Minister emphasised that the government sought to strike a balance between individual liberties and community safety.\n \n\u201cOnline civil society is as achievable as an offline one, and the rights and protections of the vast, overwhelming majority of Australians, must outweigh the rights of those who will do them harm,\u201d he said.\n \nKeys to the backdoor\n \nIt is as yet unclear exactly how the government hopes to access encrypted communications sent on apps such as Signal, Wickr and WhatsApp. Those companies don\u2019t themselves have access to the communications sent over their platforms and are mostly located in the US, creating significant technical and jurisdictional challenges.\n \nBrandis told The Age on Sunday that one method could be to \u201cimprove warrant-based access to communications at the sender or receiver ends\u201d. \nCritics have argued that moves to force messaging app companies to provide assistance in accessing decrypted messages would mean they would have to build in access points \u2013 backdoors \u2013 into their products. As the Guardian\u2019s Paul Farrell put it yesterday: \u201cThat\u2019s not just a backdoor \u2013 that\u2019s more like a giant sinkhole that your backdoor fell into\u201d.\n \nTurnbull countered the criticism today, saying: \u201cThis is not about creating or exploiting back doors, as some privacy advocates continue to say, despite constant reassurance from us. It is about collaboration with and assistance from industry in the pursuit of public safety.\u201d\n \nIt seems likely that Labor will support the government in its push for access to encrypted messages.Following Turnbull\u2019s speech, Labor leader Bill Shorten said: \u201cTerrorists are increasingly using this network to avoid detection, conduct planning and acquire capability and tools to carry out their evil actions. We must target this threat head-on.\n \n\u201cAs terrorists adapt their methods and seek to hide online, we must ensure our agencies have the tools, resources and technology so terrorism has no place to hide.\u201d\n \nLate last year the UK introduced its Investigatory Powers Act,which allows the government to compel communications providers to remove \u201celectronic protection appliedhellip;to any communications or data\u201d.\n \nIn the wake of the Manchester terror attack in May, Home Secretary Amber Rudd hinted at new legislation to bolster existing law.\n \n\u201cIt is completely unacceptable. There should be no place for terrorists to hide,\u201d Rudd said at the time.