The Criminal Justice (Offences Relating to Information Systems) Act 2017 amends the Criminal Damage Act 1991 insofar as it relates to computer data in the context of damage to property. The offences contained in the 1991 Act relating to computer data are deleted and instead being covered and expanded on in this Act, which includes “data” within the definition of “information system”. References to offences relating to computer data under the Criminal Damage Act 1991 now refer to the broader offences relating to data under the 2017 Act.
Data means any representation of facts, information or concepts in a form capable of being processed in an information system, and includes a programme capable of causing an information system to perform a function;
Information system means—
- a device or group of interconnected or related devices, one or more than one of which performs automatic processing of data pursuant to a programme, and
- data stored, processed, retrieved or transmitted by such a device or group of devices for the purposes of the operation, use, protection or maintenance of the device or group of devices, as the case may be;
Lawful authority, in relation to an information system, means—
- with the authority of the owner of the system,
- with the authority of a right holder of the system, or
- as permitted by law;
Access & Interference Information System
It is an offence to intentionally access an information system without lawful authority. A person who, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, intentionally accesses an information system by infringing a security measure shall be guilty of an offence.
It is an offence to intentionally interfere with an information system so as to hinder or interrupt its functioning. A person who, without lawful authority, intentionally hinders or interrupts the functioning of an information system by—
- inputting data on the system,
- transmitting, damaging, deleting, altering or suppressing, or causing the deterioration of, data on the system, or
- rendering data on the system inaccessible,
shall be guilty of an offence.
Interference with Data
It is an offence to intentionally interfere with data on an information system. A person who, without lawful authority, intentionally intercepts any transmission (other than a public transmission) of data to, from or within an information system (including any electromagnetic emission from such an information system carrying such data), shall be guilty of an offence.
A person who, without lawful authority, intentionally deletes, damages, alters or suppresses, or renders inaccessible, or causes the deterioration of, data on an information system shall be guilty of an offence. It is an offence to intentionally produce, sell, procure for use, import, distribute, or otherwise make available, a device, computer programme, password, code or data for the purpose of the commission of any of the above offences.
A person who, without lawful authority, intentionally produces, sells, procures for use, imports, distributes, or otherwise makes available, for the purpose of the commission of one of the above offences
- any computer programme that is primarily designed or adapted for use in connection with the commission of such an offence, or
- any device, computer password, unencryption key or code, or access code, or similar data, by which an information system is capable of being accessed,
shall be guilty of an offence.
It is an offence to intentionally intercept the transmission of data to, from or within an information system.
If a judge of the District Court is satisfied by information on oath of a member that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that evidence of, or relating to, the commission of a relevant offence is to be found in any place, the judge may issue a warrant for the search of that place and any persons found at that place.
A search warrant shall be expressed, to authorise a named member, accompanied by such other members or persons or both as the member thinks necessary—
- to enter, at any time within one week of the date of issue of the warrant, on production if so requested of the warrant, and if necessary by the use of reasonable force, the place named in the warrant,
- to search it and any persons found at that place, and
- to examine, seize and retain anything found at that place, or anything found in possession of a person present at that place at the time of the search, that that member reasonably believes to be evidence of, or relating to, the commission of a relevant offence.
The authority conferred to seize and retain anything includes, in the case of a document or record, authority—
- to make and retain a copy of the document or record, and
- where necessary, to seize and, for long as is necessary, retain any computer in which any record is kept.
Powers While Searching
A member acting under the authority of a search warrant may operate any computer at the place that is being searched or cause any such computer to be operated by a person accompanying the member for that purpose. They may require any person at that place who appears to the member to have lawful access to the information in any such computer—
- to give to the member any password necessary to operate it and any encryption key or code necessary to unencrypt the information accessible by the computer,
- otherwise to enable the member to examine the information accessible by the computer in a form in which the information is visible and legible, or
- to produce the information in a form in which it can be removed and in which it is, or can be made, visible and legible.
A member acting under the authority of a search warrant may, for the purpose of investigating the commission of a relevant offence,require any person at the place to which the search warrant relates to—
- give to the member his or her name and address, and
- provide such information to the member as he or she may reasonably require.
A person who—
- obstructs or attempts to obstruct a member acting under the authority of a search warrant
- fails to comply with a requirement
- in relation to a requirement , gives a name and address or provides information which the member has reasonable cause for believing is false or misleading in a material respect,
shall be guilty of an offence.