The laws surrounding cyber crimes are more relevant now, than ever. Cyber crimes can affect businesses in a plethora of ways. It is possible for cyber crimes to affect Queensland business directly. But it’s also possible for cyber crimes to affect businesses indirectly. As with all conduct, though, the law does intervene when a certain threshold is crossed. So let’s have a look at some of the different forms taken by cyber crimes in Queensland, and Australia as a whole. Hopefully, this background information will help you recognise and prevent cyber crimes that may have been perpetrated against your business.

What is a cyber crime?

Firstly, it’s important to come to terms with exactly what constitutes a cyber crime. Broadly speaking, cyber crimes are ones involving the illegal use, collection, impairment, or modification of data. Cyber crimes also involve illegal interference with electronic communications. But prosecuting those crimes is challenging. Most cyber crimes perpetrated in Australia are perpetrated by overseas individuals or organisations. As a result, there is a jurisdictional impediment to prosecution. There is also the matter of proving the source of those crimes; generally, the perpetrators use technology to obscure their identities and locations.

Under what laws are cyber crimes usually prosecuted?

The laws under which cyber crimes are prosecuted are found in state and Commonwealth Criminal Codes. However, broader cyber laws exist in such legislation as the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1987 (Cth); the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 (Cth); and the Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth). Those acts regulate conduct in respect of communication, data collection, and other such matters. But prosecution relating to cyber activity generally takes place under the Commonwealth Criminal Code. State law intervenes as well, particularly in relation to stalking offences, and cyber-related theft or fraud. However, owing to the dynamic and evolving nature of technology, cyber regulation is facing a constant shift. Laws are quickly outdated, as technology advances, and that is a challenge currently facing the legislature. Despite that, the law continues to respond to cyber crimes, where it can, and many are prosecuted nationwide.

Cyber crimes are becoming increasingly prevalent, and they affect everything from data to personal security

To list all the provisions relating to cyber crimes in Queensland and Australia law would be an elaborate undertaking. The fact is, cyber crimes is a very broad term used to describe a whole raft of offences of which online misconduct is a key feature. Cyber crimes can occur in every setting from business fraud, to domestic violence and harassment. However, there are some aspect of cyber crime that relate to businesses and individuals alike. The foremost is data. Almost all cyber crimes involve the collection or misuse of data. As more and more data collect online, the potential for misuse grows in both frequency and effect. Essentially, the more data malicious actors can illegally access, the more potential there is for those actors to cause harm to others.

Protecting against cyber crimes is a matter of having strong systems in place relating to data and communication

Protecting against cyber crime requires a multi-pronged approach. The first prong requires detailed knowledge about the data you collect, and its storage. If your business collects customer details, for example, it’s important to know where those details go. If they’re stored with third party databases, you should enquire as to the security measures those facilities incorporate. Finally, take into account legal advice from qualified commercial lawyers. A firm knowledge of the law is the first step to ensuring security, and managing liability in the event that data systems are compromised.

By Finian McGrath



The information provided by Kafrouni Lawyers is intended to provide general information and is not legal advice or a substitute for it. Business people should always consult their own legal advisors to discuss their particular circumstances. Kafrouni Lawyers makes no warranties or representations regarding the information and exclude any liability which may arise as a result of the use of this information. This information is the copyright of Kafrouni Lawyers.

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