Australian Powers To Spy on Cybercrime Suspects Given Green Light

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    A government bill to create new police powers to spy on criminal suspects online, disrupt their data and take over their accounts has been passed with the support of Labor. From a repoort: The identify and disrupt bill passed the Senate on Wednesday, despite concerns about the low bar of who can authorise a warrant, and that the government failed to implement all the safeguards recommended by the bipartisan joint committee on intelligence and security. The bill creates three new types of warrants to enable the AFP and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission to modify and delete data, take over accounts and spy on Australians in networks suspected of committing crimes. Earlier in August, the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security — (PJCIS) chaired by the Liberal senator James Paterson — made a series of recommendations to improve oversight and safeguards. On Tuesday, the home affairs minister, Karen Andrews, introduced amendments to implement some of the proposed safeguards, including a sunset clause so the new powers would expire after five years and stronger criteria to issue warrants. Andrews said the amendments would mean data disruption warrants would need to be “reasonably necessary and proportionate” and data disruption and account takeover warrants would need to specify the types of activities proposed to be carried out. The media would also gain some extra protection, with the addition of a “public interest test for data disruption warrants, network activity warrants and account takeover warrants where an investigation of an unauthorised disclosure offence is in relation to a person working in a professional capacity as a journalist,” she said. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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