First identity theft laws proposed in South Australia
Date: October 16, 2003
The first laws in Australia to specifically target identity theft have been proposed by the South Australian government.
The state government today announced its latest string of law and order initiatives, including planned laws to target identity theft, cyber crime and those who attack police.
SA Attorney-General Michael Atkinson said yesterday that identity theft, which occurs when people use someone else's personal information with the intention of committing a crime, would be an offence under the new laws, attracting a maximum jail term of up to 12 years.
He said identity theft paved the way for terrorist activities, citing fake IDs used by the World Trade Center bombers and stolen credit cards used by an al-Qaeda cell in Spain for illegal purchases.
"Crooks get this lucrative information by scavenging through rubbish (dumpster-diving), stealing mail, peeking over someone's shoulder at a public phone, computer or ATM (shoulder-surfing) or using an electronic device to scan a credit card (skimming)," Mr Atkinson said in a statement.
"This is the first legislation in Australia specifically targeting identity theft.
"We want to nip this in the bud before the information is used to help terrorists, illegal immigrants and drug couriers, let alone assist with money laundering or frauds against people, businesses and governments."
Mr Atkinson said laws were also planned by the government to target cyber crime.
The proposed laws would impose penalties of up to 10 years imprisonment for those found guilty of using a computer with the intent to commit an offence, modifying or impairing electronic data without authorisation and possessing computer viruses with the intent to commit a serious computer offence.
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