Australia has passed a law which apparently requires tech workers to develop backdoors which can defeat a company's encryption and security features, without informing their employer, if ordered to do so (and it is now a crime if they refuse, or inform their employer about what they have done). As far as I can tell, this Australian law applies to Australians living abroad. (Much of the broad language may also apply to non-Australians living outside Australia, but the jurisdictional claim seems a little weaker there).

The US, and other countries, have laws prohibiting discrimination in hiring based on national origin, with some exceptions.

Can a US employer discriminate against (refuse to hire) Australians as a step toward protecting their company and products from having the Australian government force in a secret backdoor?

Update, originally intended but made more explicit following comment from @paulj: Please be sure to include consideration of individuals who are both Australian and US citizens, if that is permitted.

  • 1
    This is fascinating. What of dual nationals? I believe corporate espionage is a no-no in the United States?
    – paulj
    Feb 25 '19 at 19:12
  • @paulj presumably discriminating against an Australian citizen who is authorized to work in the US would be treated the same under US law regardless of how the Australian is authorized to work (for example, whether with a green card, a work visa, or by virtue of dual US nationality). Another question (relevant to Australians not authorized to work in the US) would be whether an employer could offer sponsorship for a work visa only for citizens of certain countries.
    – phoog
    Feb 25 '19 at 19:44

Your question is based on a false premise

Part 15 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 does not apply to Australian citizens - it applies to Designated Communications Providers as defined in s317C. There are 15 ways a person or corporation can be a Designated Communications Provider so I'm not going to list them. However, none of them have anything to do with the nationality of the person or corporation - the law applies equally to Australians and non-Australians.

Given that US citizens are just as subject to the law as Australian citizens (or indeed, citizens of any nation or, for that matter, stateless persons) there is no valid basis for the type of discrimination you propose.

  • The question and linked article are about the Assistance and Access [Act] 2018, not the Telecommunications Act 1997.
    – WBT
    Feb 26 '19 at 14:05
  • @WBT the 2019 Act (2018 Bill) amended a number of other acts. The issue the OP raises is covered in the 1997 Act.
    – Dale M
    Feb 26 '19 at 20:25

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