Australian Crime Commission (ACC) observed that the expressions e–crime,
Computer Crime, High Tech Crime, and Cybercrime all refer to the same
phenomenon and quotes the definition of e-crime as used by the Australian
Centre for Police Research:
[E-crime includes] offences where a computer is used as a
tool in the commission of an offence, as the target of an offence, or used as a
storage device in the commission of an offence. 
in evidence, the Australian High Tech Crime Centre (AHTCC) distinguished between
a definition which focuses on the Internet and one which also includes a number
of other technological features
... we are not concentrating
just on the Internet – and cyber is usually referred to as the Internet. We are
looking at the misuse of technology in a more holistic sense. The danger is
that we will miss other exploits or other criminal activities that fall outside
the strict definition of the Internet ... . We do not want to limit ourselves to
just the Internet, while recognising that the Internet will form the backbone
of a whole range of those activities – even things like telephony, with the
move to IP telephone systems rather than switch
systems, are becoming part of the Internet. That is the reason for drawing that
Committee observed that the AHTCC’s perspective is not static; it accommodates
emerging communications technologies as well as those which are current. The
possibilities of mobile phone technology are immense, and the AHTCC’s
interpretation allows for monitoring developing technology as well as meeting
the challenges of that which is current.
A means to an offence
definition used by the ACC identifies three kinds of offences which involve the
use of communications technology, including the Internet.
kind is an offence which is committed using the technology; effectively it is a
conventional crime such as fraud which is committed by technological means.
Computers as targets
kind involves offences which target the computers themselves, and seek to
destroy or alter information or data held in them, sometimes with a view to
interfering in the processes which that data governs. An example would be an
attempt to disrupt a city’s water supply by interfering with the computers
which control it. The interference can be exercised by a number of means
including by hackers, worms, viruses and Trojans.
are people with sufficient technical ability to gain access to another person’s
computer or to a network through the use of stolen passwords, or interference
technology which provides access to networks and individual computers. It is a
recognised and for some, an accepted form of computer activity.
evidence described three different hacking groups:
The first group are ... young kids, 15 to 21 years old, who
download the latest hacking tools straight off a web site. If you ... go into ... any
search engine, type in ‘hacking tools’ and hit return, a plethora of sites come
up that will give you the ability to generate your own malicious codes, worms,
viruses, hack attacks ... Most of that is filtered out as noise by the
technology ... They are known vulnerabilities and they are known attacks, so they
are fairly easy to block.
The second group would be politically motivated
organisations that are attempting to hack into specific countries, for example,
organisations that are anti global trade and that sort of thing. You see
attacks on high-profile commercial organisations launched by special interest
groups of that nature on occasions. The final group is ... those that are a
little more talented in what they do. They ... are specifically after personal
gain. They ... tend to launch the attacks that are not as high profile because
you tend not to hear about them. They ... are trying to steal credit card information
or deploy keystroke loggers without people knowing about it. These things are
not designed to bring down infrastructure ... or hack into web sites ... they are
trying to specifically pick up their own information without people knowing.
They are ... predominantly male, predominantly 15 to 35 years of age.
Worms, viruses and trojans
‘worm’ and ‘virus’ in relation to computers, are often used interchangeably.
However, there are differences between them. A computer worm is a
self-replicating computer program, which unlike the virus does not need to
attach itself to another program in order to propagate itself. A worm can
delete files, or send email documents.
and worms first appeared in the 1980’s and Trojans in the mid 70’s. With the
increasing availability of technology, the opportunities for interference have
A virus is
a piece of program code, so called because like a biological virus it copies
itself and then attaches to a 'host' – another computer program. That program can be
another operating system which then transfers the virus to other computers,
damaging all in its wake. Viruses can be destructive by altering files or
erasing information from disks. More seriously they can allow others to gain
access to a person’s computer without authorisation.
are a stand alone program which does not attach to another program; it does not
move from computer to computer on its own, but must be transferred
intentionally, such as through email. Trojans are usually malicious: a person
can email it with an unremarkable filename and attach a message which, when
opened might alter or delete files on the machine, or access emails. As they
are transferred deliberately, they generally do not infect other programs and
are usually easily deleted.
Computers as storage
category identified in the definition used by the ACC includes offences in
which the computer is used as storage for information about an offence, for
example a drug offence in which supply records are kept on computer.
Crime and the internet
submission from the Australian Broadcasting Authority (the ABA) notes that the
most common Internet access is through a personal computer and a phone line. However, the Authority anticipates that
emerging technologies will provide the capacity to access the Internet and
other online services using a range of devices, including mobile devices.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics notes that
as at 31 March 2003
there are 4,417,000 household Internet subscribers in Australia. This has increased from 3,486,000 in the
March quarter of 2001. The market for
those intent on using the Internet for criminal purposes has increased by 37 %
in only two years.
2.19 The growth
of technology has resulted in a parallel growth of associated criminal
activity. Of some concern to the Committee were reports concerning paedophilia,
and the ease with which children could be contacted by paedophiles through
communications technology. The Committee was also concerned at the extent of
the misuse of card technology and the Internet. Advanced telecommunications
technology can also threaten the viability of utilities such as electricity and
water, and because the Internet knows no international boundaries, this can be
achieved from an area remote from the affected facility.
Committee noted that the Internet has features which favour criminal activity.
unregulated establishment of, and access to Internet
and email sites;
lack of security and public awareness.
Unregulated establishment and access
Service Providers are not required to be licensed, and are not regulated except
by voluntary codes of conduct. Free email providers such as AOL, Yahoo and
Hotmail (all of which operate from outside Australia) require minimal
information from the user, making the detection of offenders difficult.
It is also
possible to falsify email software to make an email appear to come from a
particular source, but in reality be sent by a third party. One of the most familiar effects of
unregulated email is SPAM; these are unwanted emails which may be used to
harass, to acquire funds fraudulently (the 'Nigerian' letters in which
recipients were asked for bank account numbers is an example) or to distribute
Committee noted that Internet and computer criminal activity is supported by
the anonymity of the environment. In email, free email services allow the
creation of as many different email identities as the user wishes, without any
useful information about the identity of that person. In evidence Mr. Gregory
A short-term fix
which would make life a lot easier would be to do away with free Internet accounts
such as AOL and Hotmail ... because if Internet accounts are not free, people have
to pay by credit card, and the vast majority of people who use credit cards
have provided appropriate information when obtaining the credit cards and that
gives law enforcement some starting point.
Mr Melick indicated that as far back as 1996
(when there were only 600,000 Internet users in Australia: there are now 7
million) that everybody who used an Internet account should have to go through
a 100-point check, the same as if opening a bank account:
Industry thought the idea was laughable and it had amazing
problems, because if we do it in isolation it does not do much about the people
in the rest of the world who have access to accounts over there. ... In 2000 the United
Kingdom had six million [Internet users]; in
2002 it had 10 million. In the United States
alone from 1996 to 1997 – that is, from the
beginning of 1996 to the end of 1997 – Internet
users went from 40 to 100 million ... if one does not start doing something about
it sooner rather than later we are going to have further problems down the line.
France ... about two
years ago ... enacted such provisions.
point check system has some drawbacks as the Australian Bankers’ Association
pointed out. The 100 point check
requires provision of original documents, and the increased ability to copy and
forge documents easily undermines the integrity of the system, although it is
clearly an improvement on no system at all.
on the Internet were described during the Inquiry as being similar to a
conference call on a telephone.
Chat rooms use Internet technology to allow a group of people with similar
interests to communicate using the one Internet location. Access is readily
available although in some cases a password might be required. In chat rooms, the participants may also assume
identities which are untraceable, or false, which is why these are an ideal
environment for paedophiles.
are an instant form of communication – unlike email which is relayed, and then read.
The danger inherent in a chat room is its immediacy and somewhat clandestine
nature. Children in particular, can be using chat rooms without their parents
being any the wiser – the activity would simply appear in the same way as any typing or
entering of text. Although some witnesses indicated it has been possible for
police to enter chat rooms to monitor proceedings, gathering evidence in the
environment is difficult, time consuming, and may not be cost effective.
evidence Symantec Australia indicated that the technological barriers to
monitoring chat rooms are not insurmountable:
If you look at the
whole instant messaging or chat room space, ... there are a lot of third party
solutions out there which you can bolt on to existing instant messaging and
chat room technologies to record the conversations. It is just a matter of
going out and finding the right bits that fit together and knowing how they
work. I do not see that there are any real technology barriers there. It is
just an extension of email, which we are all used to and is logged and recorded.
Symantec also informed the Inquiry that there may be some barriers to this
because of the increasing use of encryption, which is resource-intensive to
decode. The Committee notes from this that although the technology may be
available, it may not be feasible to use it for monitoring chat rooms.
also devices which can mask the source of information, making it appear that
the content is actually from another source.
Security and public awareness
evidence showed there are two areas of vulnerability for users of the Internet.
One is the potential for access by children to unsuitable content and to
features such as chat rooms, and the other is a lack of general awareness of
the need to secure a computer. This protects the user not only from nuisance
email but also from malicious content (including viruses) and from hacking to
obtain details such as Internet banking and on-line shopping transactions.
Committee was advised by a number of submitters and witnesses that many parents
rely on software filtering programs to protect their children from unsuitable
content. These are of varying degrees of usefulness, as the filter tends to
eliminate material which appears to be objectionable but which is not. Filters
can also do the opposite, and fail to filter very much content at all. There is
nothing available at present which will restrict access to sites such as chat
consumers install virus protection, but do not update it. 'Firewall' programs
are available (and are often supplied with computer packages) to assist with
blocking malicious content, but consumers either don’t install or don’t update
them, or are unaware that this kind of protection is available.
consequences of not having such protection can be serious, as they can be
easily attacked by computer hackers, worms and viruses. The virus protection
packages are a small expense compared to the havoc which can be caused to
personal records, as well as major networks. Even keeping virus and firewall
protection up to date does not guarantee full immunity, but most anti virus
software companies are able to advise consumers of the latest potential
dangers, and the appropriate action to take to minimise damage.
Legislation and law enforcement
Attorney General’s Department notes in its submission to the Inquiry, there is
no single Australian law enforcement or policy body which has responsibility
for cybercrime matters. Further, cybercrime enforcement is the responsibility
of a diverse group of organisations which include law enforcement, regulatory
authorities and research bodies:
The responsibilities of these organisations are diverse,
and in most cases Cybercrime forms only a portion of their work. Each of these
entities has different roles ranging from the development and coordination of
policy, to the policing and prosecution of crime.
submission also observes that there are increasingly significant roles being
undertaken by the ACC, and the AHTCC.
The role of the ACC and AHTCC in cybercrime
The Australian Crime Commission Act 2002
(the Act) sets out the organisation’s function. Section 7A (see Appendix 1)
sets out the details of its work which includes:
the collection and analysis of criminal
information and intelligence;
investigative work authorised by the ACC Board
on matters relating to 'federally relevant criminal activity'; and
advising the Board on criminal intelligence
priorities and providing strategic criminal intelligence assessments.
The Australian High–Tech Crime Centre
is established as part of the Australian Federal Police. The Australian Federal Police Act 1979 (the
AFP Act) sets out the AFP’s role. The
relevant sections are set out in section 8 of the AFP Act (see Appendix 1) and
include the provision of police services. Police services are defined in the AFP Act as:
police services include services by way of the prevention
of crime and the protection of persons from injury or death, and property from
damage, whether arising from criminal acts or otherwise.
of the ACC in relation to cybercrime is similar to the other areas of serious
and organised crime mentioned in section 4 of the ACC Act. The ACC is
responsive to events which have occurred rather than to those which might
occur. Its work is that of a processor of information, an intelligence
gatherer, and an operational body which acts on the information and
2.40 The AHTCC
is sponsored by the AFP and its policing role includes the co-ordination of
Australian law enforcement agencies to combat serious crime involving complex
technology. This includes:
providing a national coordinated approach to
combating serious, complex and multi-jurisdictional high tech crimes,
especially those beyond the capability of single jurisdictions;
assisting in improving the capacity of all
jurisdictions to deal with high tech crime; and
supporting efforts to protect the National
Committee sees the AHTCC’s work complementing that of the ACC: the ACC may be
said to be primarily an operational organisation, focused on a number of areas
of serious and organised crime. The AHTCC is a co-ordinating body which of
necessity must have research and analysis resources, in order to provide the
support to the state and territory bodies which are its constituents. It is in
a position to provide comprehensive information on its particular area of
expertise: high tech crime.
in the Committee’s view the inter-jurisdictional and international nature of
cybercrime demands not only a co-ordinated and unified national strategy but
one placed in the international context.
Committee notes that much unacceptable Internet activity originates outside Australia, which makes detection and prosecution
difficult without some form of international co-operative detection and
prosecution system. Tracing and eliminating cybercrime requires a legislative
framework that is consistent both domestically and internationally.
2.44 The ABA, for example, indicated in its submission that
a significant proportion of child pornography is produced and/or hosted in Russia and some other Eastern European nations. The
Australian Federal Police (AFP) has advised the ABA that 'authorities in these jurisdictions have
not attached a high priority to investigating such matters.' The Committee shares the ABA’s
concern; on an international level it is clear that the commitment to
developing a framework for detection and enforcement cannot be assumed,
although there are initiatives through The United Nations (Resolution of the
General Assembly no 55/63 'Combating the Criminal Misuse of Information
Technologies' – see extract at Appendix 4) and, as the Committee was informed
by Mr Orlowski, APEC.
resolution includes recommendations which if implemented would establish a
framework for international co-operation creating a responsibility for states
to ensure that the misuse of technology can be appropriately investigated,
prosecuted and penalised. It also includes the recommendation that the 'general
public should be made aware of the need to prevent and combat the criminal
misuse of information technologies'.
evidence, Mr Orlowski told the Committee of APEC projects following
the UN resolution which are designed to assist developing economies:
[APEC] have done a report on what economies [countries] are
doing to implement the United Nations General Assembly resolution. ... At the
moment ... we are running a workshop to assist developing economies, in
particular, to develop cybercrime legislation. At the last count, we had 120
representatives nominated for that workshop, which is quite a large number by
APEC standards. That will be followed up by in-country training provided by the
United States Department of Justice. They will go to the different economies
and work with them to try to get that legislation at least underway by October
Australian arrangements for the areas of UN concern are contained in
legislation and in particular, mutual assistance arrangements. The Attorney
General’s Department submission outlined these. They include the Mutual Assistance
Unit in the Attorney-General’s Department. The unit has the following
Making requests for assistance in criminal
matters to foreign jurisdictions on behalf of the Australian law enforcement
authorities, including the Australian Crime Commission.
Coordinating the provision of assistance from
other countries for the investigation and prosecution of crime and the
restraint and confiscation of assets of crime.
addition, the submission advised that Australia is party to a number of bilateral Mutual
Assistance in Criminal Matters treaties. Assistance can be provided to
countries with which Australia does not have formal treaties, through the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act
1987. This legislation enables Australia to provide assistance on request
in relation to taking of evidence, issuing of search warrants, forfeiture,
confiscation, or restraining of dealings in property associated with criminal
offences, and the recovery of penalties.
of the Mutual Assistance in Criminal
Matters Act 1987 specifically provides that the Attorney General must
refuse the requested assistance in cases where the death penalty may be
imposed, unless the Attorney is persuaded that special circumstances exist.
Cases in which the request may be refused include political prosecutions, and
the prosecution of a person for an act or omission that if it had occurred in
Australia, would have been an offence under the military law of Australia but
not also under the ordinary criminal law of Australia.
2.50 There are
several international treaties which affect Cybercrime, including the UN
Convention on Transnational Organised Crime, which focuses on international
co-operation against crimes such as money laundering. In addition the Council
of Europe and the Lyon Group have established networks of law enforcement
officers which are operated by Interpol. The AFP is the contact point with this
Committee also notes that limitations in Australia’s domestic legislation
prevents assistance being provided to other countries in cases in which
telecommunications intercept and listening device material is requested.
2.52 The Telecommunications (Interception) Act 1979 does
not allow Australia to gather intercept and listening device
material on behalf of another country. The exception is where the material has
already been obtained for an investigation of an Australian offence.
2.53 There are
also least 13 Commonwealth Acts of Parliament which have some regulatory
relevance to cybercrime (see Appendix 5). In addition, states and territories
have their own legislation which is not uniform, either in offence provision or
in penalties. The ACC submission gives the example of a lack of uniformity in
Commonwealth and State laws as they apply to Internet Content Hosts (ICH) and Internet Service Providers
(ISPs). Commonwealth law applies to ICHs but not to content providers, creators
or ordinary Internet users. State legislation applies to content providers and
ordinary Internet users.
governments focus on the offences which, while they can be committed by
electronic means, are 'traditional' criminal offences
– for example
– fraud, or possession of
child pornography. The means to these offences is via a telephone connection,
and this is an area of Commonwealth responsibility.
Committee notes that there are at least two bodies which could address this
lack of consistency, and promote a more focussed and unified approach to the
investigation, detection and prosecution of cybercrime. They are: the Standing
Committee of Attorneys General, and the Police Ministers’ Council.
Committee is concerned that while there is no common cybercrime regime in Australia, there is an increasing likelihood of this
weakness being exploited by criminal elements.
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Internet Content Hosts
Service Providers sell Internet access. The Internet Industry Association
website explains the process of providing Internet access. In short, clients
require a modem (computer access to a telephone system) and usually enter a
contract to pay a monthly fee to use the service. This is usually paid by
credit card. The ISP provides software, and a telephone number to provide the
Internet access. The client selects a user name and password – which identify
him or her to the ISP when access to the Internet is required. The client can
then use the World Wide Web, and send and receive email. In addition to serving
individuals, ISPs also serve large companies, providing a direct connection
from the company's networks to the Internet. ISPs themselves are connected to
one another through Network Access Points (NAPs). ISPs are also called IAPs
(Internet Access Providers).
not licensed. Anyone (with appropriate information technology skills) can establish
themselves as a provider. In this unregulated environment, a number of concerns
resources of less reputable ISPs can become a storehouse for records of
criminal activity. Further there is potential for ISP’s to obtain material from
client addresses which is confidential, in addition to the credit card payment
information which is supplied by the clients when they join the service.
not nationally limited. They can operate from Australia to anywhere in the world, as can international
operators operate in Australia. There would be a significant expense for
small providers to do this, but it is possible.
been some initiatives in other jurisdictions to minimise the criminal potential
associated with ISPs. In evidence Mr. Greg Melick told the Committee that the United Kingdom has legislation which specifies that acts or
results occurring in the UK are subject to UK jurisdiction. He continued:
... until we start enacting appropriate laws, both as to
jurisdiction and preservation of evidence, we are not going to get very far.
Internet Content Hosts
expression Internet Content Host (ICH) is one which appears to be used in Australia, and few other places. It is defined in Clause
3 of Schedule 5 of the Broadcasting Services
Act 1992 as:
... A person who hosts Internet content in Australia,
or who proposes to host Internet content in Australia.
The Schedule also states that Internet content means
(a) is kept on a data storage
(b) is accessed, or available for
access, using an Internet carriage service;
but does not include:
(c) ordinary electronic mail; or
(d) information that is transmitted
in the form of a broadcasting service.
Internet Service Provider can also host Internet content, and in practice many
do so. These are services which organise
and design materials for persons who wish to provide information on the
were extended to Internet Service Providers, and the Internet Industry
Association to provide the Committee with a submission to give the Committee an
opportunity to hear first-hand what the issues are which are most significant
for the service providers and the industry as a whole. None was forthcoming. The
Internet Industry Association did provide the Committee with a copy of the
draft code of conduct which is discussed below. However, the Committee had no
opportunity to discuss the Code of Conduct or to address associated issues to
the industry peak body and industry participants.
Co-operative schemes, and codes of conduct
Committee heard that there are international, interdepartmental, Federal/ State
government and private sector committees examining the issue of Internet
regulation. The Attorney General’s Department submission lists no fewer than
nine ‘cybercrime stakeholders’,
each of which is working on its own projects involving cybercrime. The
submission notes that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission
(ASIC) has been working with the Internet Industry Association on a Cybercrime
Code of Practice. The association has a wide ranging membership which includes
telecommunications carriers, ISPs, e-commerce solution architects, hardware and
software vendors and content providers.
The Internet Industry Code of Practice
Internet Industry Code of Practice was released by the Internet Industry
Association on 21 July 2003, and was provided to the Committee on 8 September
2003. Through self
regulation, the Code aims to establish a co-operative working environment
between law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and the Internet Industry Association.
The code aims to:
Establish clear guidelines for criminal and
civil investigations within the provisions of the Telecommunications Act 1997 (the Act).
Establish clear guidelines (within standards of confidentiality
and privacy established under the Act) agreed between industry and LEAs as to
what constitutes 'such help as is reasonably necessary'. This also is intended
to establish public confidence in, and promote the use of the Internet.
Provide a transparent mechanism for the handling
of LEA’s investigations for the Internet industry which is clearly understood
by both parties.
Promote positive relations between the LEAs and
the Internet industry.
Give users of the Internet confidence that their
privacy and the confidentiality of their transactions will be guarded from
unlawful intrusion by LEAs.
Committee is concerned about the persuasive effect of the Code. If the Code of
Conduct applies only to those who agree to be bound by it, there is still a
potential for the problems which the Committee’s terms of reference identifies
to remain unsolved, as those who wish to operate free of sanctions will still
be able to do so.
Committee considers that the matter of regulation of ISPs should be examined
more closely, not only in the context of ensuring the compliance of ISPs with a
set of standards, but also in the context of the jurisdictional and evidentiary
issues which have emerged in the Internet environment, and which rely on the
material held by ISPs.
The Committee recommends that the House of Representatives
Committee on Communications, Information Technology and the Arts examine the
regulation of Internet Service Providers, including codifying the
jurisdictional and evidentiary matters involving material which is transmitted
or held by the Provider.
Committee considers that there is a very strong case for a central
co-ordinating body for Cybercrime offences, and a form of regulation which
applies to those who refrain from endorsing the Code of Conduct.
Detecting and prosecuting cybercrime
inquiry the Committee became aware of a number of issues that apply generally
to the detection of cybercrime and the collection of evidence for prosecution. With anonymising
software (which can redirect and divert material), and the ease with which free
email addresses can be obtained without supporting identification, detection of
cybercrime is difficult and resource intensive.
2.71 The NSW Police also told
the Inquiry that it is possible to compromise the actual domain server, 'thereby
being able to re-route traffic, say from an Internet banking site. While the Police said this had not
actually occurred, the Committee considers it is a possibility which any protective
strategy must bear in mind.
methods of masking illegal Internet activity include cryptography and
steganography. The former involves encrypting of data so that it is
unintelligible; steganography allows illegal data to be contained in seemingly
innocuous files, such as photographs, which can then be reworked at its
destination so as to allow access to the illegal data.
2.73 One important issue drawn to the Committee’s attention was the gathering of evidence in the cybercrime environment. The Committee observed that the in the cyber environment the evidence trail disappears rapidly. There are devices which allow material to be 'scrubbed' from a storage medium; further, as ISPs are not required to retain records, there can be little material left to investigate.
2.74 While it is
possible to obtain search warrants to seize computer hard drives, discs and
other records, there appears to be no legal way in which Internet activity can
be monitored in 'real time' as can be done with an authorised telephone
intercept device, obtained under the Telecommunications
(Interception) Act 1979 (Cth).
suggested in its submission that
the powers available under section 25A of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 (the ASIO
Act) might also be made available to
the ACC in cybercrime investigations (although in giving evidence in Sydney the
ACC clarified this and indicated that this was one possibility among many for
the future). These powers would allow real time surveillance of computer based activity to search computer
data for a period up to 6 months. The ACC proposed that this – as with the ASIO
legislation – would be subject to the issuing Minister being satisfied on reasonable
grounds that the intelligence collection will be substantially assisted by the
content which is obtained under the warrant.
2.76 The ACC
did not press this, and explained that:
... we are just scoping into
the future of electronic policing requirements maybe five or 10 years away. We
are not saying that the ACC should have these
powers; we are just saying that this is another law enforcement tool that in
the future may be directly related to electronic crime investigation.
suggested effectively offer a licence to hack into other computers. The ACC
presented the argument that:
Such a monitoring warrant enables law enforcement to use
investigative tools ... to intercept and collect the communications of the
subject of the warrant while ignoring those communications which the
authorisation to intercept does not cover.
Analogous to telephone intercept warrants in all material
respects computer monitoring warrants, issued subject to the same
administrative and judicial requirements and safeguards as telephone intercept
warrants – would significantly enhance the investigative tool kit available to
Committee notes that the provisions of section 25A of the ASIO Act are very
limited in their application: they apply only to instances where national
security is threatened. There was some discussion during the hearings as to
whether powers such as this were appropriate in this context, or whether they
should be limited to the provisions of the ASIO Act.
2.79 The practicalities and likely benefits were canvassed in evidence by Mr Gregory Melick, who told the Inquiry:
Most of your
relevant data and evidence for law enforcement purposes will come from computer
hard drives. Once you get that information, you then should be able to go to
the various Internet providers to get the preserved data to get your
evidentiary trail to lead you to the perpetrator ... To randomly try to pluck
something out of the ether and interpret it to see what is going on will be
almost impossible. You also have the other problems of encryption and
proposed warrants were for telecommunications devices. However, as was pointed
out to the Committee, wireless technology, which is not covered by the
telecommunications legislation, is being used increasingly in communications. In his submission Mr. Steve Orlowski
... failure to develop secure
wireless products and applications could raise public concerns over wireless
security and slow the spread of this potentially valuable new technology.
Economic progress and the strengthening of cyber-security require addressing
Accordingly, any regulating of the Internet
environment must account for those who will use wireless technology as well as
Committee notes that the need for continuous legislative review, in the light
of operational information is fundamental to the detection and prosecution of
Committee noted that there was some concern regarding privacy and the
collection of evidence. In their submission to the Inquiry, Electronic
We are concerned ... by the increasing prevalence of
legislative proposals and laws concerning the Internet that fail to contain an
appropriate balance between individuals'
privacy and the legitimate needs of law enforcement agencies.
evidence to the hearing, the AHTCC indicated that it is aware of the need to
balance the right of individuals to privacy of communications and the right of
individuals to be protected against criminal activities. A similar sentiment was expressed by
ASIC which has been involved with other agencies in advising the Internet
Industry Association on its proposals for a code of practice which seeks also
to address the privacy issue. 
Committee noted that there is an overall tension between the preservation of
privacy and protection of children from unsuitable content and consumers
generally from unwanted emails and from malicious material such as viruses.
become clear to the Committee that crime authorities must be able to keep pace
with the advance of technology. The latest (at the time of writing) 'g3
technology' which allows the mobile telephone to become a portable multi media
device will require a reconsideration of the differentiated approaches to the
regulation of single function devices.
Committee observed that organised crime is well able to fund its own
development in this area, for obvious reasons. Further, advances in
communications technology enhance the ability of criminal groups to organise
themselves at an international level.
enforcement will usually be in a reactive rather than an active position, but
the Committee considers that with the right strategic development, agencies
will be well placed to at least meet, if not anticipate the increasing
challenges of rapid technological development. There appears to be a
considerable amount of work being undertaken: there is legislation being
prepared by the Attorney General’s Department, numerous Committees and
interagency discussions, but the Committee considers that this activity needs a
well resourced co-ordinating body. The following chapters detail examples which
illustrate this more clearly.
Navigation: Previous Page | Contents | Next Page