Government unveils framework of proposed cyber-laws

In what looks to be the most significant move on cyber-law policy yet, the government has unveiled the broad details of proposed amendments to the Crimes Act that would seek to prohibit not only dishonest use of and unauthorised access to computer systems, but the spreading of computer viruses. The bill amending the Crimes Act will be introduced this session.

In what looks to be the most significant move on cyber-law policy yet, the government has unveiled the broad details of proposed amendments to the Crimes Act.

In a press release headed 'Computer Hackers and "Typhoid Marys" Targeted' Justice Minister, Tony Ryall, has announced that computer hackers and spreaders of computer viruses will be targeted by the proposed bill.

"Recent Court of Appeal cases have highlighted the need to update the criminal law to take account of new technology and computer related offending", said Ryall.

"The Government intends to introduce a number of amendments to protect computer owners from unlawful access to their systems and dishonest use of the data and information stored on their computer systems.

The proposed new offences are:

• Accessing a computer system for a dishonest purpose.

• Attempting to access a computer system for a dishonest purpose.

• Damaging or interfering with a computer system.

• Unauthorised access to a computer – that is, "hacking" or "cracking".

Ryall said the amendments would be included in a bill intended to address broader property law issues. The Bill will be introduced this session.

"The Government wants the many people who rely on computers in their daily lives to know that we are introducing laws to help protect their valuable property", Ryall said.

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