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Law Council of Australia


Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2020

The submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security in response to the Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2020 (Bill).

The Bill proposes to amend the Surveillance Devices Act 2004 (Cth) (SDA) and Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) (Crimes Act) to confer three new powers on the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), namely:

The Bill also proposes to expand the oversight remit of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS) to cover the actions of the ACIC and AFP under network activity warrants. This requires consideration alongside the proposed amendments to oversight legislation in the Intelligence Oversight and Other Legislation Amendment (Integrity Measures) Bill 2020, which the Committee is reviewing separately.

The Law Council acknowledges that law enforcement agencies need powers that are adapted to the specialised context of cyber-enabled offences, particularly serious and harmful offences carried out online, such as child exploitation and terrorism.

However, the necessity and proportionality of the proposed powers requires careful scrutiny, both in terms of their overall operational objectives, and their detailed provisions. The new powers represent major expansions of the existing powers of the AFP and ACIC, which depart sharply from the traditional focus of their investigative powers on the collection of admissible evidence of specific offences. They also have the potential to have significant adverse impacts on large numbers of non-suspects who are lawfully using the networks, systems or accounts that are suspected of being used by offenders.

You can read the full submission below.


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