Terms of reference:

Pursuant to subsection 7(1) of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement Act 2010, the committee will examine the impact of new and emerging information and communications technology (ICT) with particular reference to:

(a) challenges facing Australian law enforcement agencies arising from new and emerging ICT;

(b) the ICT capabilities of Australian law enforcement agencies;

(c) engagement by Australian law enforcement agencies in our region;

(d) the role and use of the dark web;

(e) the role and use of encryption, encryption services and encrypted devices; and

(f) other relevant matters.

Structure and scope of this report

This report is divided into six chapters.

  • Chapter 1 broadly considers the new and emerging ICT landscape and provides an overview of some key ICTs.
  • Chapter 2 discusses the coordination of international and Australian law enforcement and key issues to be considered in addressing cybercrime across jurisdictions.
  • Chapter 3 considers the nature and uses of the 'dark web', including encryption, and the challenges it poses for law enforcement.
  • Chapter 4 examines recent legislative reforms in relation to new and emerging ICTs, including the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018.
  • Chapter 5 discusses operational challenges as well as the workforce and ICT vulnerabilities that affect Australian law enforcement's capabilities.
  • Chapter 6 considers strategic responses and opportunities both internationally and within Australia.
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