Statutes Amendment (Child Exploitation and Encrypted Material) Bill 2018

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (15:47): I rise to support the Statutes Amendment (Child Exploitation and Encrypted Material) Bill 2018. I think that this is very important legislation to protect our children. I still like to think that I have relatively young kids, though one is not far from being an adult. I have a 17 year old and a 14 year old. Mack, the eldest, has just finished year 12. Thankfully, he has managed to get a job with Viterra at Coomandook, which is very handy. The young bloke, Angus, has completed year 9.

I want to mention that because this is very important. You know from when you first have children in your family that you will do whatever you can to protect them at whatever level. It is something that always sticks in your mind. When you hear about what some of these evil perpetrators do to gain access to this pornographic material, it is absolutely disgusting to think of the lengths that they go to, thinking that they can get around any legal enforcement. I absolutely commend what we are doing here this week in regard to the Statutes Amendment (Child Exploitation and Encrypted Material) Bill 2018.

We are doing this because the state's existing child exploitation material laws do not adequately capture persons who administer, establish, operate or promote these websites and online networks. Persons can do this without necessarily possessing child pornography. Police have also identified the increasing difficulties in gaining access to encrypted material. Currently, authorities cannot compel a person to provide their passwords or access to encrypted materials.

Aiding or facilitating the possession of child pornography perpetuates child abuse, and that is exactly what it is. The Marshall government is taking the necessary action to crack down on anyone involved in this evil industry by ensuring our laws are fit for purpose. The bill introduces a number of specific offences designed to criminalise the creation, promotion and use of child exploitation material websites. It also introduces new investigative powers and procedures to assist police in the detection of this material, made increasingly difficult by technological advances and sophisticated encryption programs.

What the bill is specifically trying to do is to create three new offences targeting administrators or hosts of these websites with this child exploitation material and persons assisting in the administration, establishment or operation of this child exploitation material on websites. The bill also looks at the incidental forfeiture power upon conviction of any offence and inserts a procedure into the Summary Offences Act 1953 where a police officer or an investigator for the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) can make an application to the Magistrates Court for an order that requires a person to provide necessary information or assistance.

The bill also provides for a modified procedure where an application can be made to a magistrate in urgent circumstances, for example by telephone, particularly for circumstances where the preservation of data may be at risk. Another issue that the bill takes on is that it creates three additional offences to address concerns around a person impeding an investigation by tampering with data. The bill also imposes recording and reporting requirements upon the Commissioner of Police and the ICAC. It also provides broader protections for victims of the child exploitation material.

Another part of the bill requires the Commissioner of Police to provide an annual report to the Attorney-General detailing the number of applications, whether they were granted, urgent applications, the types of offences, descriptions of devices and the charges laid. It also requires the ICAC to provide an annual report to the Attorney-General detailing the same and providing for statutory review of the entire bill.

There was a form of this bill that was previously introduced by the former government and never passed. We are getting on with it in this Marshall Liberal government. I want to make some other comments about what this legislation will do when it comes to be an act. Certainly, I commend the Attorney-General for bringing to this place this bill that was introduced but not passed by the former government.

The simple fact is that those involved in the online child exploitation industry are not restricted by their geographical location, and that is obvious with the use of technology. People can be connected right around the world. From their living rooms, perpetrators are able to maintain their anonymity and satisfy their illegal and terribly perverted sexual activities. Those engaged in this behaviour often have zero regard for the true victims of their offending: the precious children depicted in the footage and images they are viewing. As I mentioned earlier, from behind their computer screens these perpetrators engage with other like-minded criminals from around the globe. Time and time again the innocent children who are depicted in the footage and images are exploited.

This industry is huge; the magnitude is phenomenal. The FBI has estimated that there are 750,000 child predators online and that there are an estimated 150 million images and videos documenting child exploitation, and they are all available online. Sadly, it is said that child exploitation is a billion-dollar industry, a very real motivator to those who seek out opportunities to produce more child pornography to feed the insatiable appetite for money. Each of these perpetrators, by their engagement, encourages the proliferation of child sexual exploitation by the very act of viewing and often paying for access to this material.

Sadly, there is a name very familiar to South Australians and it is the name Shannon McCoole. It is tragically familiar to many across the state. While his sexual abuse of children in care has been widely reported, what many may not know is that, at the time of his arrest in June 2014, McCoole was the administrator of a child pornography website on the dark web. His online identity was a secret. He was known by a codename and his image represented by an avatar. His site had—and this is a terrifying number when you think about it—45,403 members across the globe.

The headquarters for that website was his filthy home. McCoole lived on his own and reports suggest mounds of clothes on his bedroom floor, a box overflowing with empty Crown lager bottles, dirty dishes stacked in his sink, spare rooms full of junk and a step-up machine gathering dust. On a table in his lounge room was his laptop, which was his evil tool to enter the dark web and his dark secret.

It was good police work that found Shannon McCoole. It was not just by pure fortune that they stumbled across him and his evil acts. In 2010, police in Toronto, Canada, were checking the IP address of a child pornography collector, which revealed the name Brian Way. At the time of his arrest, Way, an entrepreneur, had built a multimillion-dollar child abuse film distribution racket using a company named Azov Films. Unlike his dishevelled home, Way kept meticulous business records. Police learned that about 40 of his 370 customers were based in Australia and more specifically in Queensland.

One of Azov Film's Australian customers lived in the Brisbane suburb of Banyo. When police finally entered that property, they found that the occupant was a member of the burgeoning dark website KidClub. In the hope of reducing his penalty, the customer gave the details required to log into KidClub. A prerequisite of joining was posting videos or photographs of hard-core pre-teen pornography. I seek leave to continue my remarks.