Australia signs on to international cybercrime treaty

Australia has now formally joined 38 other nations as a party to the world’s first international treaty on crimes committed via the Internet.

Australia has now formally joined 38 other nations as a party to the world’s first international treaty on crimes committed via the Internet.

“Australia becoming a party to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime will help combat criminal offences relating to forgery, fraud, child pornography, and infringement of copyright and intellectual property,” said Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus.

“The internet makes it easy for criminals to operate from abroad, especially from those countries where regulations and enforcement arrangements are weaker.

“These powers will allow Australian law enforcement agencies to rapidly obtain data about communications relevant to cybercrimes from partner agencies around the world.

“The Convention will also ensure vital evidence is not lost before a mutual assistance request can be completed.

“Becoming party to the Convention ensures Australian legislation is consistent with international best practice. It enables domestic agencies to access and share information to facilitate international investigations and help countries in the region build capacity to address cybercrime.

“Australia will be able to benefit from reciprocal powers offered by the 38 other nations. This is good news for fighting crime and will help make it easier for police to track down cyber criminals around the world.”

With the Convention now in effect, Australia’s investigative agencies are able to use new powers contained in the Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Act 2012 to work with cybercrime investigators around the globe.

The Act amended certain Commonwealth cybercrime offences and enabled domestic agencies to access and share information relating to international investigations.

Mr Dreyfus says the Act also created new privacy protections, safeguards and reporting requirements for the exercise of new and existing powers.

“The privacy protections in the Act maintain robust protections for Australians,” he said.

“A warrant is always required to access the content of a communication whether the information is in Australia, or accessed from overseas under the Cybercrime Convention.

“The Cybercrime Act and the Cybercrime Convention do not impact in any way on the need to have a warrant to access content from a telephone call, SMS or e-mail.”

The Convention focuses on supporting international co-operation between nations, which is separate from the PJCIS inquiry which is about ensuring our agencies are equipped to deal with the changing dynamics of communication and its infrastructure.


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