As new rules strengthen investigators’ ability to identify criminals, child sex slayerswho coach paedophiles over the dark web on how to harm kids will be targeted by the Australian civic Police.
The AFP is issuing a new and unequivocal warning to offenders today: the AFP will seek to deploy new powers under the Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Act 2021 in the coming weeks. It will be more difficult for criminals to hide over the dark web and other forums today.
For more than a decade, child sex abuse literature has circulated over the dark web, attempting to normalise and promote offending while also teaching predators how to elude law authorities.
While the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation monitors sophisticated grooming manuals on a daily basis, the AFP had previously been unable to remove the content from the dark web.
The dark web‘s anonymizing characteristics also made it difficult for law authorities to identify people who were reading and spreading the obscene and unsettling content, according to the AFP.
When criminals were discovered with electronic copies of the literature, they were almost always located with other child exploitation material, such as thousands of photographs and videos of children being sexually abused.
The AFP will be able to remove child abuse manuals and other criminal content from the dark web under the new laws, which will be combined with other authorities available to law enforcement.
The AFP will use the law and it’s authority to eradicate child sex abuse substantial and illegal materials from the dark net and other forums, but it is unlikely that law enforcement will be able to remove all. New child exploitation content is created and transmitted on a regular basis, while older material is being shared.
New warrants as well as avenues to assist identify offenders are included in the new legislation.
Account Overthrow Warrants could be used to assist the AFP in identifying who is spreading child sex abuse material and denying them access to their accounts. It will allow the AFP to adopt the identity of an offender in order to interact and identify other criminals.
The AFP will be able to take control of an online account using the Account Takeover Warrant, which will allow them to change the account’s password.
An Account Takeover Warrant must first be applied for and then issued to the AFP. A magistrate is required to issue the warrant.
Before approving a warrant, a magistrate must assess a number of elements to ensure that the AFP’s actions are justified.
The magistrate, for example, must consider:
Data Disruption Warrants could allow the AFP to take down offensive content from online forums.
The AFP can use a Data Disruption Warrant to add, copy, edit, and delete data on computers in order to thwart significant online criminal offences.
The AFP can only do this if a warrant is issued by an eligible federal judge or a member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
These two warrants, along with other authorities, make it easier for the AFP to track down those who are creating and sharing child exploitation material, arrest them, and remove the illegal content from the dark web and other forums.
The AFP can only acquire these warrants if it fits the legislation’s rigorous standards, which include that it involves a Commonwealth offence punishable by at least three years in prison.
In addition, the nature and seriousness of the offence must be taken into account. Life in jail can be imposed for child sex offences.
The AFP is prohibited from verifying the details of the warrants utilised by Commonwealth legislation until they are legitimately released in open court.
During the previous fiscal year, the AFP and its partners charged 235 people with 2772 counts of child abuse.
Lesa Gale, AFP Assistant Commissioner Northern Command, said it was crucial for parents and the community to understand that child sex offenders would go to considerable measures to locate victims and elude law enforcement.
“Our investigators and partners relentlessly pursue offenders who target our children or publish photographs and videos of children being sexually abused every day,” Assistant Commissioners Gale stated.
“The AFP will use these new legislation, technology, and the determination of its detectives to bring these criminals to justice.“ The AFP will be able to utilise the new warrants to assist in identifying offenders who distribute and, in some cases, pay to watch children being assaulted.
“As a country, we must work together to keep our children safe and trauma-free. They are our future, and we must safeguard kids from criminals who are becoming increasingly brazen in their crimes.”
Due to a lack of account takeover power, the AFP is unable to charge an offender with the full breadth of suspected abusive behaviour.
The AFP conducted a search warrant at the residence of a man accused of spreading photographs of himself abusing three children in 2020, in collaboration with state police. He was allegedly sending photographs over a mobile messaging app.
The accused was apprehended and charged with 177 counts of child sex offences.
Investigators asked for permission to take over his mobile messaging app the night of his arrest in order to identify individuals who were viewing the child abuse content. The suspected criminal refused to cooperate.
Following that, an examination of the conversation logs of the mobile messaging service revealed a huge number of talks between the offender and other users in which they received and transmitted child abuse material.