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Public consultation on international cybercrime convention

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Hon. Robert McClelland MP Attorney-General Hon. Brendan O’Connor MP Minister for Home Affairs and Justice

Attorney-General Joint Media Release Page 1 of 2


Friday, 18th February 2011


Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Minister for Home Affairs and Justice Brendan O’Connor today released a public consultation paper as part of Australia’s proposed accession to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime.

The Convention is the only binding international treaty on cybercrime.

“The Convention serves as a guide for nations developing comprehensive national legislation on cybercrime,” Mr McClelland said.

“As cybercrime is a global issue, the Convention provides systems to facilitate international co-operation between signatory countries, as well as establishing procedures to make investigations more efficient.

“While Australian law substantially complies with the obligations in the Convention, there is more we can do to ensure Australia is in the best position to address the range of cyber threats that confront us, both domestically and internationally.”

The Convention promotes a coordinated approach to cybercrime by requiring countries to criminalise four types of offences, including:

• offences against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems, including illegal access to computer systems, illegal interception, data interference, systems interference and the misuse of devices;

• computer-related offences, including forgery and fraud; • content-related offences, including child pornography; and • offences related to the infringement of copyright and other related rights.

“Cybercrime poses a significant challenge for our law enforcement and criminal justice system,” said Mr O’Connor.

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

“For this reason, it is critical that laws designed to combat cybercrime are harmonised, or at least compatible to allow for cooperation internationally.”

Attorney-General Joint Media Release Page 2 of 2

Therefore the Convention also establishes procedures to make investigations more efficient and provides systems to facilitate international crime co-operation, including:

• helping authorities from one country to collect data in another country; • empowering authorities to request the disclosure of specific computer data; • allowing authorities to collect or record traffic data in real-time; • establishing a 24/7 network to provide immediate help to investigators; and • facilitating the exchange of information.

To date, over 40 nations have either signed or become a party to the Convention, including the United States, Canada, Japan and South Africa. Over 100 nations are also using the Convention as the basis to strengthen their legislation to combat the threat of cybercrime.

The Government is inviting the public to comment on Australia’s proposed accession to the Convention. The consultation paper is attached and available at or directly via this link.

Submissions are sought by 14 March 2011.

Contact: Ryan Liddell (McClelland) 0427 225 763 Jayne Stinson (O’Connor) 0458 547 512