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Human Rights Responses to Cybercrime

Technology and Human Rights


Learn more about how cybercrime can lead to human rights violations and how Australia can take a human-rights-centred approach.

The Australian Human Rights Commission (Commission) provided a submission to the Joint Committee on Law Enforcement (Committee) as part of its Inquiry into the capability of law enforcement to respond to cybercrime (Inquiry).  

Tech-facilitated crime

Ensuring law enforcement capabilities are sufficiently developed and resourced to allow for the detection, investigation and prosecution of cybercrime, including both cyber-dependent and cyber-enabled crimes, has never been more important.

Technology now plays a key role in criminal enterprise as perpetrators utilise technology during all stages of criminal offending to facilitate a wide range of crimes.

Technology has not only provided perpetrators with new tools and methods of conducting their enterprises, but also allowed illegal operations to shift elements of criminal operations online.

Modern slavery

One example of this is the significant role that technology plays in enabling forms of modern slavery. 

Traffickers and exploiters often use social media to gain trust, gather information, recruit and track victims through surveillance and location data.

Traffickers may use websites, social media, or online classified platforms to advertise victims for sexual services. 

They often post advertisements and communicate with potential clients through digital channels. This use of technology allows traffickers to reach a broader audience and evade traditional law enforcement methods, making it challenging to combat this form of exploitation.

Regular reviews

Australia has generally preferred a technology-neutral approach to regulating digital environments. While ensuring technology-neutral legislation will reduce the need for constant updates, regular legislative reviews are still needed.

By conducting regular reviews, authorities can better combat cybercrime, including both cyber-dependent and cyber-enabled crimes, and ‘stay ahead’ of perpetrators who use technology for criminal purposes. 

This proactive approach is essential to keeping the legal system aligned with the rapidly changing digital landscape.


The Commission has made seven substantive recommendations in its submission, which consider the human rights to privacy, the need for international cooperation and the need for better education and training (amongst other recommendations). 

To read all recommendations, please download the above submission.