NT Police backs need for cyber laws

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NT Police backs need for cyber laws

States and territories divided.

NT Police is not opposed to new laws in the territory to curtail cyber bullying, believing they could also be helpful in gaining cooperation from social media sites generally to aid investigations.

The force told a senate inquiry that it currently had “no … recourse” to compel social media operators to remove cyber bullying material, particularly that which has been livestreamed.

It accused Facebook of declining to remove the material despite police requests because it was not deemed to breach “community standards”.

The agency welcomed territory-specific laws both to discourage the livestreaming of “assaults or public fighting” and believed such laws would also put it on a stronger footing with social media operators.

NT Police said it had issues generally when trying to get a social media operator to cooperate on a criminal investigation.

Most attempts were routed through a mutual assistance process, but NT Police said the delays involved could devalue the information to an investigation.

“A recent request for data has resulted in an estimated return timeframe of 12-18 months rendering the information unusable for progressing an investigation,” NT Police said.

“Requests for information, such as the IP address of a poster, have been denied and referred to the [mutual assistance] process, or the provider has simply failed to reply.

“There are no further avenues to progress these investigations and the matters ultimately will be finalised through lack of information.”

State and territory police agencies remain mixed on the senate inquiry, which is asking whether there is a need for specific laws to address cybercrimes.

Both WA Police and Facebook have previously called for the idea to be scrapped.

But SA Police, in its own submission, said such laws introduced in 2013 in South Australia and strengthened again last year were having a positive impact.

NT Police has now added its voice to seek similar laws to aid its own investigations.

The senate is due to report on the issue in March next year.

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