Legislation introduced today will help Australian investigators combat cybercrime with global cooperation.
The Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 aligns Australian legislation with international best practice and enables domestic agencies to access and share information to facilitate international investigations.
"As we exchange more information online, Australia must have appropriate arrangements domestically and internationally to be in the best position possible to fight increasing cyber crime and cyber security threats," said Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland.
The Bill extends the scope of existing Commonwealth computer offences and will, according to McClelland, enable Australia to accede to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime - the only binding international treaty on cybercrime.
The Convention facilitates international cooperation between signatory countries, and establishes procedures to make investigations more efficient, including empowering authorities to request preservation of specific communications; helping authorities from one country to collect data in another country; and establishing a 24/7 network to provide immediate help to investigators
There are over 40 nations signed or partied to the Convention - including the US, UK, Canada and Japan - and over 100 using it as the basis to strengthen their cybercrime legislation.
The Minister for Home Affairs and Justice, Brendan O'Connor, said the Convention deals particularly with computer-related fraud, child pornography and violations of network security.
The news comes at a time when cyber security is at the forefront of public consciousness with a series of high-profile sustained, and some successful, cyber-attacks on government and corporate interests.
In the last six months alone, Australia's Computer Emergency Response Team has alerted Australian business to more than a quarter of a million pieces of stolen information such as passwords and account details.
In late March it was reported that at least 10 parliamentary computers, including those of Julia Gillard and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, had been hacked. In April, Sony's PlayStation network shut down after hackers broke into it in a security breach which could have affected more than 100 million online accounts.