Unauthorised access to, or modification of, restricted data held in a computer is an offence under section 308H of the Crimes Act 1900, which carries a maximum penalty of 2 years in prison.
To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:
‘Data held in a computer’ means:
A ‘data storage device’ is any thing, including a disk or file server, which contains or is designed to contain data for use by a computer.
‘Access’ to data held in a computer means:
‘Modification’ of data held in a computer means:
Your actions were ‘unauthorised’ if you were not entitled to cause them however, your actions are not unauthorised merely because you had an ulterior motive for them, or if:
‘Restricted data’ means data held in a computer to which access is restricted by an access control system associated with a function of the computer.
Proceedings for the offence must be commenced no later than 12 months from the date of the alleged commission of the offence.
Duress is a defence to the charge.
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