Unauthorised Access to or Modification of Restricted Data

– section 247G of the Crimes Act 1958
Man Accessing Data on Laptop
This charge is generally laid in situations where a person accesses or modifies restricted data held on a computer without authorisation.
Examples of Unauthorised Access to or Modification of Restricted Data
  • Accessing somebody’s electronic bank account on a computer without their permission;
  • Accessing somebody’s medical records stored in a computer without consent or authorisation;
  • Accessing somebody’s address on a computer without authorisation or consent.
Questions in cases like this
  • Was the data restricted?
  • Did you have authorisation to access the data?
  • Did you access the data?
What are some of the possible defences to Unauthorised Access to or Modification of Restricted Data?

Defences to this charge can include can include a factual dispute, the fact that the accused was authorised or the fact that the data was not restricted.

You should call us to speak with one of our experienced lawyers if you have been charged. Deciding on whether to plead guilty or not has implications for you and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal lawyer.

Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge

Magistrates' Court
If a person is convicted, the court may impose a maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment. This charge is a summary offence and is only dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court.

What is the legal definition of Unauthorised Access to or Modification of Restricted Data?

Section 274G(3) of the Crimes Act defines “restricted data” as data held in a computer to which access is restricted by an access control system associated with a function of the computer.


The legislation for this offence can be found on section 247G of Crimes Act 1958.

Elements of the offence

To be found guilty of this offence, the Prosecution must prove the following elements beyond reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused accessed or modified data;
  2. The accused was not authorised to access the data;
  3. The data was held on a restricted computer that the accused knew was unauthorised; and
  4. The accused intended to access or modify the data.
“Can the Police prove that you accessed restricted data stored in a computer?”
Media information

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