The Morrison government has secured Labor support for new powers to fight crime in the "dark web" by agreeing to greater oversight and safeguards.
The "identify and disrupt" bill passed both houses of parliament on Wednesday, although some international companies still dispute what it means for access to their data.
The government says it will ensure anti-crime agencies have the tools to keep pace with technology and keep Australians safe.
The dark web hosts large-scale, complex and anonymous platforms and services used to facilitate child sexual abuse, drugs and firearms trafficking, extremist content and sale of stolen identification documents.
As well, organised criminals are increasingly using encrypted platforms to evade law enforcement surveillance.
The bill introduces three new powers:
* "Network activity warrants" to enable the Australian Federal Police and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission to identify and collect intelligence by permitting access to suspects' computers.
* "Data disruption warrants" to frustrate the commission of serious offences such as the distribution of child exploitation material.
* An "account takeover power" enabling the AFP and ACIC to take control of a person's online account to gather evidence about their criminal activity.
Critics say the "hacking bill" endangers digital privacy and security by giving unprecedented powers to Australian intelligence agencies.
Greens senator Lidia Thorpe told parliament that Australia lacks a robust human rights framework to protect citizens from the "intrusive" laws.
One Nation's Malcolm Roberts is also concerned about "inadequate" checks and balances.
The new laws mean officers can pose as users, upload tagged illegal material and track down who looks at it.
"More power to spy" could be used to shut down organisations who disagree with the government, including COVID-19 protest groups, Senator Roberts said.
To date, Operation Ironside - a major anti-crime operation led by the AFP - has resulted in 733 charges being laid against almost 300 people, as well as the seizure of 139 weapons, five tonnes of drugs and $48.3 million in cash.
Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said the new powers would allow police to take more action against transnational and organised crime.
"It will directly target those who deal in the most insidious crimes against children, assisting police to protect the most vulnerable victims here in Australia, and overseas," she said.
Labor frontbencher Andrew Giles told parliament the bill was important in terms of improving the gathering of intelligence and disrupting and prosecuting the most serious of crimes.
"Parliament has produced a bill to meet serious challenges with appropriate safeguards in place," he said.
"It is vitally important the safeguards be implemented effectively."
Australian Associated Press
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