Unauthorised access, modification or impairment with intent to commit a serious indictable offence is a crime under section 308C of the Crimes Act 1900, which carries a maximum penalty equivalent to that of the intended offence.
To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:
- You caused an unauthorised computer function
- You knew the function was unauthorised, and
- You intended by doing so to commit a serious indictable offence, or to facilitate the commission of a serious indictable offence, whether by you or another person.
‘Unauthorised computer function’ means:
- Unauthorised access to data held in a computer
- Unauthorised modification of data held in a computer, or
- Unauthorised impairment of an electronic communication to or from a computer.
‘Data held in a computer’ means:
- Data entered or copied into a computer
- Data held in any removable storage which was in a computer for a time, or
- Data held in any data storage device on a computer network of which a computer forms a part.
‘Access’ to data held in a computer means:
- The display of data by the computer or any other output of the data
- The copying or moving of the data to any other place in the computer or to any data storage device, or
- The execution of any program.
‘Modification’ of data held in a computer means:
- The alteration or removal of data, or
- The addition of data.
‘Impairment’ of an electronic communication means:
- The prevention of any such communication, or
- The impairment of any such communication on an electronic link or network.
‘Impairment’ does not include the mere interception of a communication.
A computer function is ‘unauthorised’ if you were not entitled to cause it.
A ‘serious indictable offence’ is one that carries a maximum penalty of at least 5 years in prison.
You may be found guilty of the offence even if:
- The commission of the intended serious indictable offence was impossible, or
- The intended serious indictable offence was to be committed at a later time.
Duress is a defence to the charge.