New IT Powers To Stop Attacks Introduced By Feds

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The Federal Government has introduced legislation that will allow computer network operators to intercept communications for the protection of networks without breaching current telecommunications interception laws.

The Federal Government has introduced legislation that will allow computer network operators to intercept communications for the protection of networks without breaching current telecommunications interception laws.

Attorney-General Robert McClelland told Parliament information on networks could be extremely valuable to cyber-criminals, but under the current law network operators could undertake protective activities only after a communication became accessible from a server, or at an earlier point with the consent of those using the network.

But he said that as attacks became more sophisticated, there was an increasing need for operators to defend at the earliest point without being able to gain the consent of users, a technical breach of the interception legislation.

The Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment Bill 2009, introduced to Parliament yesterday, aimed to ensure that network operators could undertake legitimate activities to secure the integrity of their networks.

“The bill recognises the general prohibition against interception and clearly identifies the circumstances in which the access, use and disclosure of information for network protection purposes will be permitted,” McClelland said.

Another measure, the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Serious and Organised Crime) Bill aims to strengthen existing laws on organised crime, by introducing new criminal offences; enhancing access to telecommunications interception for the investigation of organised crime offences; enhancing money laundering, bribery and drug importation offences; and enhancing search and seizure powers and the ability to access electronic data.

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