In introducing the draft provision that was later enacted as s 477.3 (Unauthorised impairment of electronic communication) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), the report of the Model Criminal Code Officers Committee of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General, Chapter 4 — Damage and Computer Of ences and Amendments to Chapter 2: Jurisdiction, January 2001, pp 171–3, noted that the offence:

In introducing the draft provision that was later enacted as s 477.3 (Unauthorised impairment of electronic communication) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), the report of the Model Criminal Code Officers Committee of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General, Chapter 4 — Damage and Computer Of ences and Amendments to Chapter 2: Jurisdiction, January 2001, pp 171–3, noted that the offence:

… has an extremely broad band of application, from harms which are transient and trifling to conduct which results in serious economic loss or serious disruption of business, government or community activities. The prohibition would be breached by conduct which impaired communication of a single message of no importance.

Given that the offence carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 10 years, how are different levels of impairment to be reflected in legal outcomes? Should there be a threshold level of impairment for the offence so that it would not apply to ‘transient and trifling’ impairments, such as reductions in bandwidth from ‘piggy-backing’ or similar activities?

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