Australia - Digital Economy - Cyber Crime, Privacy and Copyright issues


With the internet having become critical national and international infrastructure a whole range of privacy and issues have come to the fore in relation to the digital economy and the digital society.

Some of these issues are in relation to national and international security and tens of billions are spent by governments using the internet as a surveillance tool. This has led to a frenzy of activity by governments to, on the one hand, protect their sovereignty and, on the other, use the internet for their own security activities.

Separate to this are the commercial issues. With internet services becoming pervasive it can be argued, rightly or wrongly, that there are some services that people simply have to have. This is exploited by the companies involved, with requests for a range of highly private data in exchange for the free use of these applications and services.

In 2017 the Australian Federal Court narrowed the definition of “personal information”. Australia’s data privacy laws only protect personal information, which is defined by whether a person is identified or identifiable from data.

Another issue relates to the free flow of information over the internet. In countries with little infrastructure- based competition there is a threat that these providers will use commercial arrangements to favour some over the rest. This is known as the net neutrality issue and, while this issue is mainly of concern to the USA, other countries are also keeping a close eye on possible monopolistic misuse.

On top of that is the issue of international governance of the internet and its basic infrastructure. However, with widely diverging interests from countries such as China, Russia, Iran, North Korea on one side and Europe and North America on the other, there is a long way to go before any consensus can be reached, if ever.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Synopsis
  • 2. $230m cybersecurity plan
  • 3. Government-industry collaboration is better than developing a surveillance state.
  • 4. How to move cybersecurity forward in a more positive way
  • 5. Is technology tinkering with our democratic principles?
  • 6. Cyber crime
    • 6.1 Statistical overview
    • 6.2 Dark Nets
    • 6.3 A snapshot of key attacks
    • 6.4 How to limit the damage
    • 6.5 Cryptography
  • 7. Data retention legislation
    • 7.1 Introduction
    • 7.2 Cost of the scheme
    • 7.3 Data retention policy – more risks than gains?
    • 7.4 The aim of the proposed legislation
    • 7.5 How to finance mass surveillance - The internet tax
    • 7.6 Security risk could be higher than its gain
    • 7.7 New laws more harm than good
  • 8. Copyright laws for the digital economy
    • 8.1 Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill
    • 8.2 Hollywood studios get access to telco regulation
    • 8.3 Rushed, chaotic and inadequate
    • 8.4 TPP – secrecy in politics continue
  • 9. Privacy and trust fundamentals of a digital economy
    • 9.1 Update on Australian Issues in Australia
    • 9.2 The networked society and personal freedom
    • 9.3 The David and Goliath battle for privacy
    • 9.4 Consumers are the serfs of the feudal internet companies
    • 9.5 Permission-based marketing
    • 9.6 Trust is eroding
    • 9.7 Government intervention is unavoidable
    • 9.8 Social Compact for Digital Privacy and Security
  • 10. Trade in Services Agreement - Telecommunications Annex
  • 11. Other Reports
  • Exhibit 1 - Cyber crime statistics
  • Exhibit 2 - ACC UPDATE advice
  • Exhibit 3 – Australians express their concerns about privacy
  • Exhibit 4 - Statistics shows customers don’t trust B2B companies

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Focus Report Profile


Digital Economy
Digital Media
Mobile & Wireless Broadband and Media
Regulations & Government Policies

Number of pages 35

Status Archived

Last updated 17 Jul 2017
Update History

Analyst: Paul Budde

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