Management Responsibility in Protecting Information Assets: An Australian Perspective

Adrian McCullagh


Information is a vital and valuable asset of all modern businesses. The law has treated information, in most common law jurisdictions, as not being property. Consequently, it is not possible at common law to steal information. In Australia, the Federal Government has recently brought into force a suite of legislation that has the purpose of deterring hackers who unlawfully try to gain access to a computers located in Australia. Further there have been a number of recent judicial determinations that now impose a positive duty upon management (Directors and Officers of a corporation) to implement reasonable steps to prevent a crime from being effected against the corporation. This positive duty includes the protection of information assets of the corporation from hacker attacks and loss of information and its value. Hence computer security is now a board issue in Australia and not just an IT issue.

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