On Thursday, Australia's parliament passed the most expansive bill of all Western countries that could force major USA tech companies such as Google, Apple and Facebook to provide authorities with access to such encrypted data.
What's the Impact of Australia's Anti-Encryption Law?
Attorney General Christian Porter and other supporters say the law will "keep Australians safe" by helping law enforcement prevent terrorism and organized crime.
Australia's decision is the most serious attempt by any national parliament so far to rein in tech companies involuntarily.
In the United States, Silicon Valley has so far resisted efforts by USA lawmakers and law enforcement agencies seeking to gain access to the communications of suspects in criminal investigations.
Technology companies have opposed efforts to create what they see as a back door to users' data, a stand-off that was propelled into the public arena by Apple's refusal to unlock an iPhone used by an attacker in a 2015 shooting in California.
When the bill becomes law, Australia will be one of the first nations to impose broad access requirements on technology firms, after many years of lobbying by intelligence and law enforcement agencies in many countries, particularly the so-called Five Eyes nations.
Critics fear the vote sets a unsafe precedent.
The Digital Industry Group, an industry association whose members include Facebook and Google, campaigned against the bill in a loose alliance with Amnesty International and the Human Rights Law Centre.
"I will fight to get those encryption laws passed", Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Canberra after Dreyfus spoke. Opponents argue it will weaken Australians' online security and privacy. They say that both initiatives do not necessarily have to contradict each other.
The passage of the bill was met with dismay from some IT and tech company workers on social media.
Under the bill, companies that fail to hand over data linked to suspected illegal activities would face a fine of as much as 10 million Australian dollars ($7.3m) while individuals could face a prison sentence.
Australia is the first of the Five Eyes nations, an intelligence alliance among Australia, the U.S, Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, to pass this sort of bill, which is set to become law by the end of this year. The opposition Labor party had tried to amend the legislation, but that would have meant continuing the debate into next year, so the party dropped its amendments at the last minute.