Australia set to gain ability to sanction cyber attackers under ‘Magnitsky-style’ law
A Bill allowing Australia to directly issue sanctions against cyber attackers was unanimously passed by the Senate yesterday evening, and is set to appear before the lower house for another sign off.
The Bill, colloquially known as a “Magnitsky-style” of law, if enshrined, would allow the Australian government to directly issue sanctions against individuals or entities that ban them from visiting Australia or making any investments in the country.
The legislation is partly based on the United States’ Magnitsky Act, which was ratified in a bid to punish Russian officials that were responsible for the death of whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky who accused them of tax fraud.
Along with targeting cyber attackers, the proposed laws also seek to allow direct sanctions against human rights abusers, corrupt officials and threats to international peace, security, and international humanitarian law.
The Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ) lauded the move, saying it would strengthen Australia’s committee to human rights globally.
“It goes without saying, targeted sanctions should be a tool for protecting against the most serious violations of human rights wherever they occur in the world. We hope the Australian government will approach the use of this new sanctions power consistently, equally and free from double-standards,” ACIJ executive director Rawan Arraf said.
The types of sanctions passed by the upper house on Wednesday evening are noteworthy as they can be issued to individuals or entities so long as they fall under one of those categories of thematic concerns. Currently, Australia’s sanctions regime only allows for the issuance of sanctions that either adhere to United Nations-enforced international obligations or a country-specific approach.
If the laws are ratified, they will be reviewed by a joint parliamentary committee after three years of being in effect.
Under Australia’s proposed anti-troll laws, courts would gain the ability to issue orders compelling social media platforms into disclosing the personal information of users accused of defamation.
The federal government’s latest crackdown on big tech will see an inquiry be established looking into their impact on the mental health and wellbeing of Australians.
One of Telstra’s business partners with limited IT infrastructure suffered a cyber attack that the telco explained potentially put its customers at risk.
AU$70 million will be put into building a new quantum commercialisation hub as part of Australia’s Blueprint for Critical Technologies.
American and Australian authorities claim to have observed Iranian-backed attackers scanning and exploiting various systems.
Under Australia’s new Ransomware Action Plan, organisations that suffer from a ransomware attack will be required to report the incident to government.