Wide net catches phishers, spammers

Without the Spam Act Australia would become a safe haven for electronic miscreants, according to AusCert director Graham Ingram.

Despite claims by some who think the legislation is ineffective, Australia has taken a proactive role give it control, Ingram said.

"Some people criticize Australian spam legislation because they perceive it won't work, but if we don't have it we would become a safe haven for others," Ingram said, such as countries that don't have cybercrime laws. "Australia must show in its legislation that it recognizes it is an issue."

Ingram said the goal of such legislation, particularly the Cybercrime Act, is legal consistency across borders.

However, Australian High Tech Crime Centre director Kevin Zuccato willingly admits that legislation can sometimes hinder investigations.

"We have to follow legislation whereas criminals, on the other hand, don't respect any laws," he said.

But Zuccato is adamant that such laws are critical in making a difference, describing the Cybercrime Act as an essential part of the legal landscape.

"Having national laws is one thing, but it is the international aspect of this crime [spamming] that is the most challenging for us - that cross-jurisdictional issue is something that everybody is finding challenging," he added.

"Senator Lugar (US senator for Indiana) in the US introduced a phishing bill two months ago; that deals with a particular crime, but what happens when that [phishing] morphs into something else and the definition of phishing is no longer appropriate? Then you have legislation that doesn't cater for a morphing of a crime type that's changing every day."

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