LiveChat Loading...

Australian National Character Check livechat loading
Australian National Character Check livechat loading
|
  • Resources & Technical Articles
  • Pre-Employment Screening Topics
  • Criminal Offence Topics (A to Z)
  • Driving & Traffic Offences
  • Locations
  • Home Resources & Technical Articles Criminal Offence Topics (A to Z) Computer Crime Offences Computer Crime Offences and Penalties in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

    Computer Crime Offences and Penalties in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

    If you live in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), one of the laws you may need to familiarise yourself with is the law regulating computer crime offences. The reason is simple - this is the age of technology, and the popularity of computers and other gadgets is ever increasing.

    Like most things, the rise in technology comes with its advantages and disadvantages. One of such disadvantages is the increase in computer offences. As such, the government of the Australian Capital Territory has made laws regulating the use of computer devices in the Territory.

    These laws for the Australian Capital Territory are listed in the Criminal Code 2002 (ACT).

    In this article, we will discuss the provisions of the Criminal Code 2002 as it relates to computer crime offences.

    If an individual is convicted in an Australian Capital Territory (ACT) court for a Computer Crime offence, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on a criminal background check in the ACT.

    The offence will be disclosed on a criminal history check in accordance with the Spent Convictions Scheme in the Australian Capital Territory.

    Computer Crime Offences Under the Criminal Code of 2002

    Part 4.2 of Chapter 4 of the Criminal Code 2002 (ACT) deals specifically with computer offences. We will discuss these offences and their penalties in the following headings:

    #1. Unauthorised access, impairment, or modification with intent to commit a serious offence:

    Section 415 of the Criminal Code 2002 (ACT) carries the provisions for unauthorised access, modification or impairment of data in a computer with the intention of committing a serious offence.

    To be guilty of this offence under Section 415, the accused must have known that they did not have the authority to access the data. They must have also intended to either commit a serious offence or facilitate the committing of one.

    The accused person does not have to know that the intended offence was a serious one to be guilty. The Court will still find the accused guilty even if it is impossible to commit the grave crime.

    Furthermore, suppose the unauthorised act led to the commission of the serious offence. In that case, it does not matter if the defendant committed the crime immediately after gaining the unauthorised access or at a later time.

    Under Section 415, an offence is a "serious offence" if it carries a punishment of incarceration for a term of five years or more. It also includes a crime that is not a serious offence in another jurisdiction but is a serious offence if a person commits it in the Australian Capital Territory.

    #2. Unauthorised modification of data to cause impairment:

    A person who modifies data in a computer without authorisation to cause impairment is guilty of an offence according to Section 416 of the Criminal Code 2002 (ACT).

    For the Court to find a person guilty of this offence, the accused person must have been aware that the modification was unauthorised. They must also have had the intention to cause impairment through the modification.

    The maximum punishment for this offence is 1000 penalty units, imprisonment for 10 years or both.

    #3. Unauthorised impairment of electronic communication:

    Section 417 of the Criminal Code 2002 (ACT) regulates the unauthorised impairment of electronic communication.

    This section makes it a crime to allow unauthorised damage to electronic communication. Such communication may be to or from a computer, but the accused must be aware that the impairment is unauthorised. The defendant must also have been intentional or reckless about the damage to the communication in the computer.

    The maximum penalty for this crime is 1000 penalty units, imprisonment for 10 years or both.

    #4. Possession of data with the intent to commit a serious computer offence:

    Section 418 of the Criminal Code 2002 (ACT) deals with possession of data with intent to commit a severe computer offence.

    #5. Producing, obtaining, or supplying data with intent to commit serious computer offence

    Section 419 of the Criminal Code makes it a crime to produce, supply or receive data with intent to commit a grave computer offence.

    One of the elements of this offence is that the person must have enabled the commission of a serious computer offence.

    The maximum punishment for this offence is 300 penalty units, imprisonment for 3 years or both.

    #6. Unauthorised access to or modification of restricted data contained in computer:

    Section 420 of the Criminal Code 2002 (ACT) makes it a crime to make it possible for someone to gain unauthorised access to restricted data in a computer. It also covers the facilitation of unauthorised modification of restricted data in a computer.

    For the accused person to be guilty of this offence, they must have intended to cause the access or modification.

    The maximum penalty for this crime is 200 penalty units, imprisonment for 2 years or both.

    #7. Unauthorised impairment of data contained in computer disc, credit card, etc.:

    Section 421 of the Act states that unauthorised impairment of data held in computer disc, credit cards, or other similar devices used to store data is a crime.

    According to this section, it is an offence to impair the reliability, security or operation of any information on such a device.

    The person must have done this intentionally. They must know that they had no permission to carry out the act and intended to cause the damage.

    The maximum punishment for this offence is 200 penalty units, or imprisonment for 2 years or both penalties.

    The Interpretation Sections under Part 4.2 of the Criminal Code of 2002 (ACT)

    Section 412, Section 413 and Section 414 of the Criminal Code provides the definitions of certain words used in Part 4.2 of the Criminal Code 2002 (ACT).

    Section 412 defines terms like "access", "causes", "data", "data held in a computer", "data storage device", "electronic communication" and "impairment", "modification", "serious computer offence", etc.

    Section 413 explains the limited meaning of access to data, while Section 414 defines unauthorised access, modification or impairment.

    According to Section 414, if a person has access to data or modifies it when they are not entitled to do so, they are unauthorised. This also applies to a person who impairs electronic communication. However, a person's ulterior motive is not proof that they had no permission to access the data.

    Conclusion

    When all's said and done, being convicted of a computer crime offence is a matter of great consequence. The penalties are pretty harsh in the Australian Capital Territory. Even after serving jail time, the aftermath of a conviction for computer offences in the Australian Capital Territory can be quite drastic.

    It slims down the convict's chances of getting a job and may make it difficult to travel internationally.

    The bottom line is, if you're ever involved in a case of computer crime in the Australian Capital Territory, ensure that you contact an experienced legal practitioner.

    Will a Computer Crime Offence in the ACT show up on a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?

    If an individual is found guilty of a Computer Crime offence in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on the results of their police clearance check.

    Individuals can obtain a nationally coordinated criminal history check online via the Australian National Character Check - ANCC® website.

    Sources

    Criminal Code 2002 (ACT) - https://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/2002-51/

    Criminal Code 2002 (ACT) (Austlii References) - http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/act/consol_act/cc200294/

    Copyright & Disclaimer

    The content on this website is communicated to you on behalf of Australian National Character Check™ (ANCC®) pursuant to Part VB of the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act).

    The material in this communication may be subject to copyright under the Act. Any further reproduction of this material may be the subject of copyright protection under the Act.

    You may include a link on your website pointing to this content for commercial, educational, governmental or personal use.

    The contents of this website do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice.

    Top