Australia’s war on maths blessed with gong at Pwnie Awards

Malcolm Turnbull takes out ‘Pwnie for Most Epic FAIL’

Australia’s own Malcolm Turnbull has been recognised at the Pwnie Awards in Las Vegas, with the prime minister taking out the ‘Pwnie for Most Epic FAIL’.

The annual awards, staged at the BlackHat security conference, recognise security successes and failures.

Turnbull beat out a number of serious contenders in his category: The Intercept for accidentally exposing the alleged source of an article based on US National Security Agency documents; Kaspersky for a flaw in its safe browser on iOS; Cloudflare for Cloudbleed.

Turnbull’s win came courtesy of an exchange earlier this month with ZDNet journalist Asha McLean at a press conference where the PM and Attorney-General George Brandis detailed the government’s plan to tackle the use of encryption by criminals:

MCLEAN: Won’t the laws of mathematics trump the laws of Australia? And aren’t you also forcing everyone to decentralised systems as a result?
TURNBULL: The laws of Australia prevail in Australia, I can assure you of that. The laws of mathematics are very commendable but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia.

Although the Pwnie Awards website is yet to be updated, Verint’s Moshe Zioni tweeted the win.

The nomination on the Pwnie Awards website states:

Everyone wants to stop criminals. In a legislative effort to force vendors to hand over the plaintext contents of encrypted communications, Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull was confronted with the pesky laws of mathematics; that is, that with properly implemented crypto, no one, including vendors, could simply decrypt the user data. Turnbull replied "Well the laws of Australia prevail in Australia, I can assure you of that. The laws of mathematics are very commendable, but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia". Finally, some progress in the war on math!



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