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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Senior Fraud Squad Police confirm there is no way to charge data thieves

A meeting with senior Fraud Squad Detectives in Sydney yesterday has confirmed Police are powerless to charge employees who steal data from their employers.

Whilst state and federal ministers and bureaucrats, on both sides of parliament, have written to us or responded to correspondence from us promoting existing legislation under the Crimes Act, the Privacy Act and Copyright Acts there remains absolutely no legislation in any state or federally that will allow Police to charge for theft of data by an employee or for that matter any person who has authorised access to a business.

The meeting confirmed that regardless of the level of security over a database and extensive agreements between employees and employers any theft of data can only be handled in the civil courts.

The costs associated with any civil court action disqualifies most small businesses from seeking the loss and damages caused by this type of fraud providing total immunity for the thieves. Even for those businesses willing to pursue a civil court action the end result could be substantial costs and no compensation due to the thief having no tangible assets or funds to pay awarded loss and damages.

With so many people effected by such an insidious act of theft including business owners, employees, their families, suppliers and customers governments have to take a much more serious look at passing legislation that will allow Police to charge persons responsible for data theft.

One recent case of data theft by employees breached the privacy of thousands of patients and shut down one of Sydney's leading sports injury centres causing staff to be laid off and loss and damages in the millions of dollars.

Police, Security and legal experts, as well as those companies affected, say the end result leaves employees feeling invincible to legal threat or recourse.