Tough new sanctions against cyber attackers are set to become law after recently being passed in the Senate and House of Representatives.

The new Bill will enable the Australia government to directly issue sanctions against cyber attackers. Known as the “”Magnitsky-style” of law, the Bill would allow the government to ban cyber attackers from entering the country or making any investments within Australia by way of direct sanctions against individuals or entities.

In the same vein as the United States’ Magnitsky Act which was originally put together in response to punish Russian officials who were responsible for the death Sergei Magnitsky. Sergei Magnitsky was a whistle-blower who had accused the Russian officials of tax fraud. Hence the name of the Bill “Magnitsky-style” of law.

However, the Australian Bill that targets cyber attackers, also proposes direct sanctions against:

  • human rights abusers
  • corrupt officials
  • threats to international peace or security
  • international humanitarian law

In response to the new bill, The Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ) praised the move, saying, “it would strengthen Australia’s committee to human rights globally”

In other words, “targeted sanctions should be a tool for protecting against the most serious violations of human rights wherever they occur in the world. The ACIJ executive director Rawan Arraf hopes “the Australian government will approach the use of these new sanctions power consistently, equally and free from double-standards.”

Most importantly, these are significant sanctions aimed at either individuals or entities, if they fall into any of the categories of concern. Certainly, an upgrade to Australia’s current sanctions regime. Currently sanctions either must adhere to United Nations-enforced international obligations or a country-specific approach.

Once the laws are endorsed, they will be reviewed by a joint parliamentary committee, after three years in effect.

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