Identify and Interrupt: how Australia's new surveillance law works

Key Facts


  • If you’re suspected in Australia, a police officer could end up using your social media.

  • Australia’s surveillance laws are among the most extensive in the world.

Identify and Disrupt. With these premises, a new amendment to the surveillance laws was approved by the Australian Congress on August 25, granting new powers to the authorities to fight crime in digital environments.

As reported by specialized media, and as can be seen in the approved document

, the authorities could copy, modify, delete or include new data in the accounts of social networks and other Internet services, belonging to a user suspected of having committed a crime.

Also, they can collect data and make intelligence on devices and networks that are used by the users in question, collecting information even from third parties from the device or profile tapped during an investigation.

What has raised public awareness is the fact that a court order (issued by a judge) would not be necessary, but that such an order can also be instructed by lower-ranking prosecutors in the Australian justice system.

The Tutanota

media explains that the authorities justify these new measures with their fight against child exploitation and terrorism, however, any federal-level crime in Australia can be subject to this caution. In fact, they point out that crimes that warrant sentences of less than three years would be included in this amendment, such as tax evasion and piracy.

However, there are organizations that oppose the measure. On June 1, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), a government agency, warned

repeatedly that the amended law may end up affecting a larger group of individuals than intended. Identify and Interrupt: how Australia's new surveillance law works Identify and Interrupt: how Australia's new surveillance law works Australia is part of the Five Eyes (FVEY), a mass surveillance and intelligence organization, along with the United States, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Source: Applysense / <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>

The OAIC recognizes the importance of law enforcement being authorized to respond to cybercrimes and other serious crimes. However, the powers proposed by this amendment are broad in scope and coercive in nature.

For example, the power to disrupt data or access devices and networks may authorise the removal of data or computers, and intercept communications (…)

These powers may adversely impact the privacy of a wider range of individuals, including those who are not suspected of being criminals, and are therefore subject to being dealt with rationally and proportionately

. Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

The amendment has already been passed by both houses of the Australian Congress and awaits enactment by the British Crown, receiving RoyalAssent, which would take place later this year.