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Unauthorised Impairment of Data in Computer Disk, Credit Card or Other Device

Unauthorised impairment of data in computer disk, credit card or other device is an offence under section 308i 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:

  1. You caused any impairment of the reliability, security or operation of data held on a computer disk, credit card or other device that was used to store data by electronic means
  2. You intended to do so
  3. You were not authorised to do so, and
  4. You knew you were not authorised to do so.

‘Data’ includes:

  1. Information in any form, and
  2. Any program or part of a program

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:

  1. You were an ‘authorised person’ such as a police or other law enforcement officer
  2. The computer disk, credit card or other device was in your lawful custody, and
  3. Your actions were to preserve, or to prevent the concealment, fabrication, destruction or loss of, evidence of any offence.

Duress is a defence to the charge.

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