Australia’s Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland recently reported that cybercrime has overtaken the drug trade as the most profitable form of crime in the world.
Indeed, authorities worldwide now recognise that law reform and international cooperation will be essential to combat cybercrime and cyber security threats.
In June 2011, a new Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 was introduced to strengthen cyber security laws and enhance Australia’s ability to combat international cybercrime.
The introduction of new legislation will bring us closer to global international best practice through international cooperation.
A common policy will also help lawmakers deal with multi-national crimes committed on computer networks around the world and offences such as fraud, copyright infringement, child pornography and violations of network security.
The Bill sets out the legislative framework to enable Australia to sign the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime which is the only binding international treaty on cybercrime.
Over 40 nations have either signed or become a party to the convention, while 100 are also using it as the basis for strengthening their own cybercrime legislation.
The key changes will be the addition of procedures to make investigations more efficient, such as the collection of data from other countries, establishing a 24/7 network to provide immediate assistance to investigators and facilitating the exchange of information between countries.
Of particular concern is the increasing incidence of threats within the social networking environment.
The increase in online social networking sites such as Bebo, Facebook and MySpace has provided the stage for the younger generation to create a web presence and share it with the world.
However the increase in cyber-bullying, offensive content and identity theft has prompted authorities to include social networking in their cybercrime discussions.
A new website called ThinkUKnow Australia has been set up as a partnership between the Australian Federal Police and Microsoft Australia.
It has been designed to raise awareness among parents, carers and teachers of younger people and how to keep them safe online.
A separate section on the website has been set up specifically for young people aged 11 to 17 to access information on internet safety including the option to ‘Report Abuse’.
For more information go to www.thinkuknow.org.au