Five years jail for ID crimes over phone or net

People who identify themselves as somebody else over the phone or internet for "criminal reasons" will be facing up to five years in jail under new laws introduced to Australian Parliament today.
Written by Spandas Lui, Contributor

Anybody caught trying to get identification information for nefarious purposes, using somebody else's identification information or suppling such details through a carriage services, such as over the phone or online, will face a maximum jail time of five years.

The Crime Bill has upped the financial penalties for crimes committed in Australia, and introduced new offences for using a false identity over the phone, internet, or during air travel.

The bill stipulates that this applies to somebody using the personal information "with the intention of committing or facilitating the commission of a Commonwealth, State, Territory or foreign offence." The prosecution will have to "prove, beyond reasonable doubt, the person dealt in identification information and the person is unable to prove to the contrary."

It is unclear whether this covers situations such as when somebody willingly allows another individual to use their identification information to make enquiries, for example, when a non-English speaking person asks a family member to ask about utility bills over the phone on their behalf.

ZDNet Australia is awaiting a response from the Attorney-General's Office.

The Crime Bill also brought in a new offence related to using somebody else's identity for air travel, which is to punishable by a minimum jail time of 12 months.

This includes people who use a false persona or claims to be somebody else to book tickets in person, through a carriage service, or at the airport.

Currently, most airlines do not cross-check tickets with any forms of identification if a person goes through online check-in for domestic flights.

The Bill will also give police constables the power to request the presentation of identification at airports.

"At constitutional airports, the constable must reasonably suspect the person has committed, is committing, or intends to commit a Commonwealth State or Territory offence punishable by imprisonment of 12 months or more," according to a statement from the Attorney-General's Office.

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