To address dark web crime the Australian Government has introduced the Identify and Disrupt Bill 2020 (Bill) that would give the Australian federal police and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission powers to disrupt and investigate a broad range of crimes. It is targeted towards the online criminal who hide in the shadows of the dark web.
The dark web and anonymising technologies allow criminals to hide their identities and activities from law enforcement agencies. An obstacle to investigating these crimes has been attributing criminal activity to particular individuals, organisations, premises or devices, especially on the dark web.
The Bill creates three new types of warrants:
- Data disruption warrants enable the AFP and the ACIC to disrupt data by modifying, adding, copying or deleting in order to frustrate the commission of serious offences online
- Network activity warrants allow agencies to collect intelligence on serious criminal activity being conducted by criminal networks; and
- Account takeover warrants let the AFP and the ACIC take control of a person’s online account and can be combined with other warrants to gather evidence to further a criminal investigation
The Bill is taking aim at serious commonwealth offences that “include, but are not limited to, money laundering, threats to national security, dealings in child abuse material, importation of prohibited imports and violence”.
Other serious commonwealth offences defined in the Crimes Act include theft, fraud, tax evasion, controlled substances, illegal gambling, extortion, bankruptcy and company violations, and illegal importing of fauna. This could extend to large scale counterfeiting operations operating in Australia, either physically or online.
These powers will hopefully add increased layers of safety and security on the Internet and deny cyber criminals the safe harbour of anonymity through the dark web.
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