The Australian

Karen Dearne
May 02, 2010 9:52PM

AUSTRALIA will finally sign up to a global treaty aimed at fighting fraud and other offences committed using the internet such as computer hacking, child pornography and copyright infringement.

Following discussions in Washington with US Attorney-General Eric Holder this week, federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland said Australia would accede to the Council of Europe's Convention on Cybercrime.

The convention, which provides a standard framework for investigating and prosecuting crimes involving the internet across national borders, has been adopted by more than 45 countries including the US, Canada and Japan since it began in 2004.

A spokesman for Mr McClelland said Australia already complied with most of the treaty obligations, but some changes to current legislation would be necessary before acceptance by the CoE.

It's understood police will need to have real-time access to network traffic, and new powers to rapidly secure evidence held on computer systems.

The spokesman said access to stored electronic communications would have to be provided to foreign police agencies.

“That issue and the real-time collection of communications data for foreign law enforcement purposes will probably be considered as an amendment to the Extradition and Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, which is currently out for public comment,” he said.

“The other requirement is a preservation regime to allow the authorities to compel a carrier (ISPs) to hold onto information so it just doesn't disappear into the ether.”

The Cybercrime Convention has been under consideration by the Rudd Government since early 2008, after originally being canvassed in 2001.

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