Global approach to cybercrime step forward for Australia: Government

Unisys also gets behind European Convention on Cybercrime with submission

Joining the European Convention on Cybercrime will be the only way to spread information to Australians about the increasing threat posed by global cyber criminals, according to Federal Attorney-General, Robert McClelland.

McClelland, said in February that while Australian law compiles with the obligations in the Convention, there was more that could be done to ensure Australia was in the best position to address the range of cyber threats.

A public consultation paper was released as part of Australia’s proposed accession to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime

The Convention has plans for an international 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, illegal access to computer systems, illegal interception, content-related offences, including child pornography, and offences related to the infringement of copyright and other related rights.

Unisys Asia Pacific security spokesperson, Jane Evans, said the vendor had made a submission which argued strongly in favour of Australia joining the council.

The submission argued that the consumerisation of IT was leading to new security risks as well as changing the casual attitude of some Australians towards privacy.

“It’s the first international treaty on cybercrime and it is binding on signatories and it provides that framework for common protocols for cooperating on important law enforcement matters,” she told Computerworld Australia.

She said the treaty highlighted security threats from devices because smartphones/tablets are present in many Australians' lives.

“There are so many more devices today, on the one hand it brings convenience but it changes the landscape we are operating in quite fundamentally,"Evans said. "We need to have things like this to provide the means for us to respond to that change in security context on a national level as well as at an organisational level.”

Evans also said the Internet makes it easy for criminals to operate from abroad, especially from 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," she said.

An Attonery-General spokeswoman said in a statement that 20 submissions were received from a broad range of industries. She would not name the companies for confidentiality reasons.

The submissions would not be made public, however the Department would be appearing before the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) later this year in its public hearing into the accession by Australia to the Convention on Cybercrime.

“During that hearing the department will communicate the results of the consultation to JSCOT, with the exception of those submissions that have sought to remain in-confidence," Evans saiad. "Anyone wishing to make a submission to the JSCOT inquiry can do so by 21 March.”

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