The concept of cyber law in Australia is subject to a wide range of controversy, due to the lack of privacy offered to the individuals of Australia. Policies regarding cyber law in Australia are very narrow, and often do not provide the adequate amount of privacy and security to users in Australia, thus providing a motive for the necessity of an alteration of cyber law in Australia. The definition of cyber law is the term that encapsulates the legal issues related to the use of the internet or technological interactions. The ethics and legal issues surrounding cyber laws in Australia are in the focus of privacy issues today.
The leading factors of concern related to the current cyber law policies in Australia, and all across the world, include the lack of privacy offered to users of the internet, insignificant means being taken to protect users from cyber threats, the lack of protection against cyber bullying and the rising hazard of cyber-crime due to a deficiency of sufficient protection against cyber-criminals. The leading issues regarding cyber laws in Australia are the lack of privacy offered to individuals residing in Australia, and the increasingly explicit material being available to personalities of all ages.
Moreover, the case of child pornography on the internet serves to be a problem of increasing concern. Present-day cyber laws in Australia require carriers and carriage service providers to preserve stored communications when requested by certain domestic agencies. Furthermore, they ensure that a foreign country can secure access to stored computer data, including preserved data; and allow a stored communication warrant to be obtained for foreign law enforcement purposes. These laws which have been introduced into the constitution serve as a means of protection against cyber-crime, however they lead to issues of privacy, mainly the lack of it.
Due to the increasing demands of security in the current era of technological competence, the privacy of internet users is the subject to a considerable amount of decrease. The leading concern relating to issues of concealment on the internet is the lack of the discretion of information on users on social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Social networking sites record all interactions, and retain them for potential use in social data mining. The fact that personal information of users is held in reserve by leading social networking websites is surrounded by controversy, seeing that
personal and often secretive information of users is exposed to third parties on the internet and a serious privacy concern is then formed. This fact is enclosed by dispute due to the fact that cyber laws do not illegalize this information to social networking sites. There is an immense necessity for the modification of cyber laws in Australia. Furthermore, the inability to satisfactorily protect younger users from explicit material is frequently displayed, with the absence of defensive means being used to enable safe internet use by children.
In today’s technologically advanced society, the internet is constantly being used in households, and the use of it by children is inevitable, with extensive access being offered to anyone. Cyber laws lack the aptitude to shield children from the extensive amounts of adult content which is available on the internet. A recent taken by express. co. uk indicates that one in ten children who illegally download files have been subject to sexually explicit material, hence signifying the need for a rehabilitated cyber law in Australia.
The current system of cyber laws in Australia have proven to be successful in the past, however with the innovative and changing atmosphere of the internet, it now comes with numerous drawbacks, which prevail over the positive attributes of cyber laws in Australia. To begin with, Australian cyber laws provide sufficient protection against the threat of cyber bullying seeing that cyber police are equipped with cutting edge technology which permits them to track records on the internet. Unfortunately however, this does not completely eliminate the threat of cyber bullying, seeing that it often occurs subliminally and unexpectedly.
In addition to this, the current cyber laws also offer protection to users against third party hackers on the internet. This is particularly effective in the event of an internet payment transaction, which is susceptible to the risk of hackers. Furthermore, cyber laws consent businesses to file any forms, applications or any other document through electronic means, without the risk of espionage. Conversely, shortcomings of cyber laws in Australia also exist. Confidentiality on the internet is essential, and with the enforcement of cyber laws in Australia, discretion is endangered.
The fact that foreign countries are capable of retrieving data on internet users in Australia indicates the weakness of user protection in Australia. Moreover, cyber laws in Australia fail to shield younger children against inappropriate and explicit material which is openly available on the internet. Cyber laws are unsuccessful in blocking sexually explicit advertising on common websites which are used by all age groups. Even though large penalties apply to distributors and viewers of child pornography, cyber laws dearth the tendency to completely discontinue the use of this material.
Even with the implementation of cyber laws, countless amounts of cyber criminals escape punishment, which verifies the fact that cyber laws do not exclusively eliminate the problem of crime on the internet. Although liabilities in the current system of cyber laws have been raised, these issues have not been presented in court. Several cases regarding cyber-crimes have taken place, however the laws themselves are yet to be presented in court, suggesting the point that justice has not been served to the people of Australia.
Cases of child pornography have been viewed in court; however the laws addressing the cases fail to act as a sufficient punishment for these cyber criminals. The current scheme of cyber laws are not thought to be an issue of civil rights, however they are now being considered as a question of human rights, as the exploitation of individuals in Australia continuously takes place. When taken to court, distributors of child pornography can be sentenced to a maximum of ten years in prison, and can be fined up to $120,000.
Nevertheless, this only occurs when a distributor is caught, which is a rare incidence. With the aim of addressing the issues of privacy and distribution of child pornography, various means have been taken by the government, such as the introduction of a number of cyber laws. In order to restrict the distribution of child pornography, the Australian government has implemented a penalty of up to ten years in prison, and a fine of up to $120,000 to criminals which are proven to be guilty.
However, regulations relating to the privacy of internet users do not warrant the safety of users’ information. Cyber laws regarding privacy of internet users only state that information can be used by foreign countries in the event of a threat to safety. This attests that it is obligatory for cyber laws in Australia to be improved, in order to guarantee that the privacy of consumers is not being violated. To certify that the privacy of users is not being dishonoured, and that justice is being served to distributors of child pornography for their crimes, new laws have been proposed.
To begin with, the lack of privacy delivered to users continuous to grow, with the idea of a law which enables an electronic record to serve as documented evidence in court. The proposition of this law has been received positively, seeing that it will introduce a new method of screening evidence in court. However, private documents of users may be exposed with this law, as the individuals involved would have the permission to produce any document, without the consent of who owns the document.
Even though this proposed law has the potential to violate the privacy rights of individuals, it is necessary for justice, seeing that countless crimes occur online, and evidence of these crimes can only be produced in an electronic document. At this moment, cyber laws regarding child pornography are considered to be sufficient, seeing that no new laws have been proposed. Nevertheless, cyber laws continue to improve with time, supported by the fact that magazines and videos which depict children in an abusive manner have been refused importation from Japan.
Existing cyber laws which address the issue of child pornography have achieved justice in most cases; however laws which address concerns of privacy fail to do so. In the situation which took place in August 2007, an Australian man had been fined $9,000 for an attempt to import Japanese magazines which depict child pornography in cartoons. Justice had not been served in this case, seeing that the man currently lives freely, even though he had made an attempt to view cartoon depictions of child pornography. Conversely, there have been many other cases where justice has been served.
The current system of cyber laws only use the maximum sentence for extreme cases of child pornography, and only implement minor charges on individuals who have committed crimes which do not satisfy the criteria of major offences. Unfortunately however, cyber laws do not achieve justice in other cases of privacy exploitation. Currently, there exists no law which punishes individuals or businesses which violate privacy rights of an individual. In order to achieve justice new and innovative laws ought to be introduced. The internet continues to expand and become more common, and with the internet, the volume of cyber laws also increases.
However, there are still needs for supplementary laws, which cover even more aspects of crime on the internet. The privacy of internet users needs to be observed as important, and cyber laws must ensure that users are not being exploited. Moreover, large companies such as Google and Facebook should not have the ability to store private information about their users. This will allow users to develop a sense of confidence and security when they post material online. Laws concerning minor child pornography offences also need to be toughened and rehabilitated.
With the internet being as large as it is, the dispersal of child pornography can be much more secluded than it was before the mainstream success of the internet. This provides as a platform as to why minor offenders should receive much heavier penalties, seeing that the sexual exploitation of a child’s rights serves as a reason to heavily punish an offender. The implementation of strict cyber laws is necessary so that cyber criminals receive their punishment. Laws which are currently in place must be enforced and advanced regulations must be introduced, to serve as legal remedies for the losses faced by victims of cyber-crimes.
As the internet becomes a part of lifestyle, it develops into a platform for cyber-crimes. The hidden criminal or the cyber-criminal is enabled to commit offences without the fear of a heavy punishment, therefore cyber laws need to be toughened. As well as the rehabilitation of these laws, privacy also needs to be put into thought, as the information of individuals is being exposed to unknown third parties. Due to the aforementioned reasons, cyber laws in Australia must be altered and toughened, yet they must simultaneously ensure that the privacy of internet users is not being risked as a result of toughened laws.