Vic Police to get computer hacking power


blog Those with a close interest in electronic surveillance may recall that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) was given new powers last year that would allow the agency to hack into computers remotely for investigation purposes — and even break into the computers of completely innocent Australians on the way. Well, now they’re not the only ones. New legislation introduced in Victoria this week will give the state’s police forces a similar power. The Guardian reports (we recommend you click here for the full article):

“Police would still need a search warrant, issued by a court, but under the changes they would be able to remotely access the computer of the person subject to the warrant without having to enter the building where the computer is kept.”

To my mind, these powers step over the line in terms of Australians’ right to secure their own electronic assets. If Victorian police have sufficient information to gain a search warrant, then you would imagine they could just go in and grab someone’s physical computer, rather than taking the trouble to break into it remotely. It’s a little more difficult when it comes to ASIO … the agency does need to have the power to collect intelligence remotely.

But I am still concerned that these laws are increasingly taking Australia in the wrong direction … and that this trend will continue. When will this all end? When everything we do, at any point of our lives, is comprehensively able to be monitored by police?


  1. do they need to show the warrant before they do the hack. But then it would be so much easier to find even deleted data if they just take the computer and scan through the HDD.

  2. As long as its held to the same levels of getting a physical search warrant I don’t see a huge issue. (its no different than if they execute the search warrant and you’re not home is it?). I mean at least this has a judge in the way to guard Aussie’s rights.

    ASIO well they’re always another ballgame entirely.

  3. I think the other part that seems to be missing from the discussion entirely, is the assurance process (that is the reviewing of audits) to ensure that actions by both groups are done in a matter that is consistent with the intention of the law.

    Those who do not act in a manner consistent with the intention of the law should be subject to harsh penalties IMO.

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