New Laws To Force Tech Giants To Reveal Data

Companies could be forced to disclose encrypted information on phones, computers and social media.

Tougher financial penalties could soon be imposed on tech giants such as Apple and Facebook for not co-operating with security agencies tracking terror suspects and criminals.

The Turnbull government has unveiled new laws that include the power to force companies to disclose encrypted information on devices such as phones and computers and on social media platforms.

Cyber Security Minister Angus Taylor said technologies such as encryption were being used by organised criminals, terrorists and pedophiles to evade detection.

The new laws will help security agencies tracking terror suspects and criminals. Image: Getty

"We know that more than 90 percent of data lawfully intercepted by the Australian Federal Police now use some form of encryption," he said in a statement on Tuesday.

"This has directly impacted around 200 serious criminal and terrorism-related investigations in the last 12 months alone.

"We must ensure our laws reflect the rapid take-up of secure online communications by those who seek to do us harm."

Technology companies and civil libertarians have warned the changes could weaken privacy protections.

But Taylor said the new legislation would "expressly prevent the weakening of encryption", and would not include "back doors" to give security agencies easy access to data.

"I am committed to maintaining the integrity of Australians' personal information, devices and communications," he said.

"Our first priority is keeping Australians safe and these measures will go a long way to ensure that criminals cannot hide."