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Oz passes data control laws

24 Aug 2012

New laws have been passed allowing authorities to collect and monitor Australians' internet records from web providers, specifically targeted towards cyber criminals.

Passed yesterday, the legislation permits the viewing of personal online data such as web-browsing history, social media activity and emails.

Australian state and federal authorities will now have the power to enforce internet service providers retain user's internet footprints to help combat cyber crime, fraud and child pornography.

Results published in the Norton CyberCrime 2011 report showed cyber crime holds a bigger global black market value (US$388bn) than marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined ($288bn) and approaching the value of all global drugs trafficking ($411bn).

The survey, based across 24 different countries reported cybercrime victims to be as frequent as 14 every second, equating to over a million per day.

Australian officials says after a warrant is issued, law enforcement agencies will have access to the data, previously held for a maximum of one week, preventing police from gathering suitable evidence against suspects.

"Cyber crime is a growing threat that touches all aspects of modern life," says Nicola Roxon, Attorney-General.

"It poses complex policy and law enforcement challenges, partly due to the transnational nature of the internet."

The law comes two days after Facebook was accused of negligence over child pornography after users, some of which underaged, were encouraged to post naked pictures of themselves on the website.

Australian watchdog group The Watchers made the accusations following the creation of new pages which are in direct breach of Facebook’s ‘no nudity’ policy.

The group accused Facebook of allowing the creation and distribution of child porn to go unsupervised with online safety groups criticising the websites reactive actions.

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