Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Cybercrime

Cybercrime

Cybercrime is now a sophisticated transnational threat that operates on a significant scale and has become an increasingly important issue for the global community.  In Australia, ‘cybercrime’ is used to describe both crimes directed at computers or other information communications technologies (ICTs) such as hacking and denial of service attacks and traditional crimes where computers or ICTs are an integral part of the offence such as online fraud, money laundering and identity theft.  The online distribution of child exploitation material is also a very prevalent form of offending.

There are specific Commonwealth computer offences relating to the unauthorised access and modification of data and the impairment of electronic communications.

Commonly Used Offences

  • s.478.1(1) Criminal Code – unauthorised access to, or modification of, restricted data
  • s.477.3(1) Criminal Code – unauthorised impairment of electronic communication
  • s.474.17 Criminal Code – using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence

Penalties

The maximum penalty for unauthorised access to, or modification of, restricted data is 2 years imprisonment.

The maximum penalty for unauthorised impairment of electronic communication is 10 years imprisonment.

The maximum penalty for using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence is 3 years imprisonment.

Sentencing

The CDPP provides sentencing data to the Commonwealth Sentencing Database (CSD). Permission to access the CSD can be obtained at http://njca.com.au/sentencing/ .

Significant Cases

  • R v Bogers WADC (19.11.2010) and (26.02.2010)
  • R v Larkin & Shee WADC (20.04.2012)

Relevant Legislation

Law Reform

  • Legislation

The Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Act 2011 commenced on 12 September 2012. The main purpose of the Act was to facilitate Australia’s accession to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime. The Act also amended the Criminal Code offences to ensure consistency with the Conventions.

  • Reports

In 2010 the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications made 34 recommendations aimed at improving Australia’s response to the growing problem of cybercrime in the report, Hackers, Fraudsters and Botnets: Tackling the Problem of Cyber Crime, the Report of the Inquiry into Cyber Crime.  Criminal law and enforcement is examined at Chapter 6 of the report.

In 2011 the Australia Parliament Joint Standing Committee on Treaties produced Report 116, Optimising Australia’s Response to the Cyber Challenge.  This report examined the evolving global cyber security threat and proposed responses to the challenges it presents, at both the domestic and international level.

In June 2011 the House of Representatives Selection Committee referred the Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 to the Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety for consideration.  The Joint Select Committee produced the report, Review of the Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Bill 2011, on 8 August 2011.

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