On The Beat this week: Europol’s latest organised crime report, cybercrime vs drug trafficking, the National Identity Security Strategy, security funding for Australian schools and the case against metadata retention.
Europol and tomorrow’s organised crime
Europol has published a report Exploring Tomorrow’s Organised Crime providing a forward-looking assessment of the key drivers that’ll impact Europe’s organised crime threat landscape, including new markets, changes to criminal structures, and new ways to launder profits.
The report predicts the decline of traditional hierarchical criminal groups and networks and the rise of a more opportunistically-connected virtual community. The breakdown of networks and tracing of individual criminal operators will be but some of the challenges to face law enforcement.
Cybercrime over drugs
Still on organised crime, internationally organised criminals may soon turn from drugs to ever more lucrative cybercrimes. Commissioner of the City of London Police Adrian Leppard revealed that the rates of financial crimes, which have a broad reach across society, were soaring and could soon be profitable enough to attract drug traffickers, which would require greater efforts from law enforcement. He also expressed concerns that the impact of cybercrime was underappreciated, an issue we’ve discussed on The Beat previously.
National Identity Security Strategy
At home, the Attorney-General’s department has released the National Identity Security Strategy based on the findings of the National Identity Crime and Misuse Measurement Framework Project. The strategy looks at the scale and costs of identify fraud in Australia. One recommendation is that the National Identity Security Coordination Group should adopt an Identity Crime Measurement Framework, reporting to relevant Commonwealth and state and territory ministers on the nature, extent and impacts of identity crime.
Identity fraud in NSW
Still on identity fraud, a joint initiative between Australian Federal Police, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and New South Wales Police has shut down a fraudulent identity manufacturing operation. The Identity Security Strike searched homes in Sydney where they found mobile phones, computer equipment, printers, card cutters, thousands of blank cards, holograms for licences and credit cards, electronic card templates, card readers, and fraudulent identity documents leading to the arrests of four men.
Schools security funding
Justice Minister Michael Keenan has announced an $18 million package to fund security at schools deemed to be of specific risk of racist incidents or lone-wolf terrorist attacks. The Secure Schools program will fund 54 schools and was described by the Minister as a confidence-building measure, rather than an indicator that sectarian violence is on the rise.
This isn’t the first time schools have been targeted in Australian counter-terrorism strategies. Stephanie Huang had a look at deradicalisation programs in schools in ASPI’s weekly counter-terrorism wrap, CT Scan.
Metadata: in the interest of balance
Last week we presented AFP Assistant Commissioner Tim Morris’ case for the government’s proposed metadata laws. The CSO presents the case against according to Senator Scott Ludlam, who was a keynote speaker at the Tech Leaders Forum in Sydney last month. Ludlam disagrees with the balance between privacy and security in the bill, and notes he is yet to find any evidence suggesting that the policy will be useful.
Metadata: they see me trollin’
Still on metadata, George Brandis was the unfortunate victim of trolling this week when it became known that his parliamentary email address was linked to his iMessage account. Individuals began messaging with gusto; sending quotes, memes, emojis, and the first chapter of Orwell’s 1984 to the Attorney-General in protest of the metadata scheme. The logic is that if all Australians just CC’d the government into all their emails, we’d have no need for new metadata legislation. As silly as that seems, it demonstrates just how controversial the data retention proposal is to the Australian public. We at The Beat doubt this’ll be the last you hear of it.
Clare Murphy is an intern working within ASPI’s Strategic Policing and Law Enforcement Program. Image courtesy of Flickr user Maureen Barlin.