RealTime IT News

Australia's Police Consider Cybercops' Strategy

Australasian Police Commissioners has released a cyber strategy to deal with crime associated with information technologies including the Internet, at the International Policing Conference in Adelaide this week.

Under the proposed strategy, initiated a year ago, the country's police commissioners have highlighted the possible creation of cybercops, cybercourts and cyberjudges among the innovative approaches they will need to take to tackle the problem of electronic crime.

The police has identified such crimes as those where a computer is used as a tool to commit an offence, or as a target of an offence, or the use of a computer as a storage device in relation to an offence.

Also on the list of new approaches the police commissioners are considering is more work with and reliance on the private sector to assist with what has previously been perceived as traditional police work, said Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Palmer.

For instance, it may be necessary to give serious consideration to police/private sector alliances in areas such as forensic computing to optimise the capacity of both the private sector and law enforcement, Palmer added. The private sector is already playing a significant role in the investigation of fraud, etcetera, against large companies, however the broader private sector also has a key role in preventing e-crime and computer security incidents and ensuring that appropriate risk management strategies are adopted o protect key business systems.

This notion of partnership is one of five key areas the nation's police commissioners have resolved must be dealt with collectively in the fight against e-crime. Other areas are prevention, education and capability, resources and capacity and regulation and legislation.

3Some of the main challenges the strategy had to address were the anonymity, speed and the potential for large scale victimisation associated with electronic crime,2 said Palmer, who also chaired the Commissioners Conference Electronic Crime Steering Committee. Strategic and effective partnerships, and ongoing consultation, with the community and the private sector will be absolutely essential to the success of the strategy. Commissioners have recognised that such partnerships must be genuine, mutual and cooperative.

According to US figures quoted by the commissioners as support for the e-crime strategy, 30 percent of major corporations in the United States reported e-crime incidents in 1999, at a cost of US$123.779 million. In 2000, about 70 of corporations reported incidents, at a cost in excess of US$265.590 million.

Australia has also seen a rise in computer security incidents. An Australian Computer Emergency Response Team report recorded 1816 incidents reported in 1999, which had escalated to 8197 in 2000.

As the digital environment extends beyond geographical boundaries, the police commissioners acknowledged global issues that would present challenges to investigations, in areas such as jurisdiction, managing strategic relationships and ensuring security, dealing with various privacy regimes, reliance on telecommunications carriers and ISPs, managing extraditions and transborder searches of computer data repositories and communications interceptions.

Australian police commissioners said that they would discuss these issues with international criminal investigation organizations, such as the FBI and Interpol, and speakers from these bureaux have attended the conference this week to renew this dialogue.