My colleagues Christopher Parsons (Citizen Lab, University of Toronto, Canada), Erik Zouave (Centre for IT & IP Law, KU Leuven, Belgium) and I have just published an open-access article in a special issue on ‘Australian Internet Policy’, in the open-access journal Internet Policy Review. In light of the onset of domestic law enforcement use of computer network operations (CNOs) (more popularly termed ‘lawful hacking’) and the difficult legal questions that accompany these developments, the article offers critical insight into the implications that accompany government’s domestic use of CNOs in Australia, but also more broadly.
Computer Network Operations (CNOs) refers to government intrusion and/or interference with networked information communication infrastructures for the purposes of law enforcement and security intelligence. The following article explores how CNOs are lawfully authorised in Australia, and considers the extent to which the current use of CNOs are subject to ‘counter-law’ developments. More specifically, the article finds that the scope and application of CNOs in Australia are subject to weak legislative controls, that while such operations might be ‘lawful’, they undermine rule of law and disturb core democratic freedoms.