[LINK] Telec Interception Bill (was Re: Cybercrime Bill, 2001 (PASSED))
Fri, 28 Sep 2001 13:37:35 +1000
On Fri, 28 Sep 2001 05:54:26 +1000 (EST) sandbar <email@example.com>
>There's also a release from the Attorney-General's Department yesterday
>that says state and territory police forces now have increased power to
>intercept telephone, Internet and e-mail transmissio
>ns relating to serious arson or child pornography investigations.
>Anyone know anything about the origins of this?
Don't know anything about the origins of it, but having looked into the
Bill, I'm presently doubtful it's cause for alarm.
The A-G's media release says:
"Law enforcement agencies investigating serious arson and child
pornography offences will be able to intercept telephone, Internet and
e-mail communications, under legislation introduced into the Parliament
The word "serious" appears to be important in terms of the purpose and
According to the Explanatory Memorandum:
"This item [re child pornography] amends the definition
of class 2 offence to include an offence punishable by a maximum period
of at least 7 years where the conduct constituting the offence involves,
or would involve dealings in child pornography or any involvement in
the employment of a child in connection with child pornography. The
effect of the amendment is to permit agencies to apply for a warrant
authorising the interception of telecommunications where information
that may be obtained would be likely to assist in the investigation
of the range of child pornography offences described punishable by a
maximum of at least 7 years imprisonment in the relevant legislation."
The item re arson is similarly worded in relation to 7 years imprisonment.
I am not a lawyer, but the above seems to me to clearly indicate that a
warrant to intercept a person's email etc could not be issued unless the
alleged offence being investigated involved a maximum penalty of 7 years
Generally speaking, the maximum term of imprisonment for possession,
distribution etc of child abuse material in State/Territory laws is 1-5
years (it is possible this may be higher somewhere, haven't checked every
State/Territory, but afaik they're all pretty similar). Hence it seems that
any fears that this bill might enable police to obtain warrants to go on
fishing trips in relation to vague claims that someone is downloading
illegal material etc, would be unfounded.
It seems to me the proposed law is likely directed to investigating alleged
crimes such as procuring a child for the purpose of making child
pornography. For example, in Victoria, the maximum penalty is 10 years
If anyone has knowledge/info that suggests to the contrary on the possible
effect of the amendments, please advise.
Also, btw, the Bill includes an amendment to wind back an overly broad
power to issue warrants that apparently was an accidental result of the
last amendments to the Act.