News Release




Embargoed until Thursday 24 May 2001


Australia needs to be more pro-active in addressing issues of crime and security in the online world if our expertise is to realise long-term national benefits, according to John Rimmer, the head of the Federal Government’s National Office of Information Economy (NOIE).


Speaking before the launch today of the Baker & McKenzie Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre at the University of New South Wales, Mr Rimmer warned: “We’ve got policy analysts and engineers who are up there with the best in the world but there’s some complacency about trust and security issues.” 


The Centre is the first in the region and only the third worldwide, and will provide a focus for research, public interest advocacy and education on issues of law and policy concerning digital transactions in cyberspace.


“These issues are very complex and not particularly amenable to quick fix solutions. As soon as you come up with better risk management and law enforcement in cyberspace the people trying to get around the system come up with more sophisticated solutions,” Mr Rimmer said.


“A forum like the Baker & McKenzie Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre can play an important role in identifying issues, which will lead to greater public awareness and more informed policy debate. This is absolutely an area where we need public and private sector collaboration.”


The inspiration for the Centre within the UNSW Law Faculty was Baker & McKenzie Sydney ITC lawyer Tim Dixon and cyberspace expert Professor Graham Greenleaf of the University of New South Wales.

Cyberspace law and policy centres already exist in The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and the Norwegian Research Center for Computers and the Law. Other centres are being developed at Oxford University and the University of Hong Kong.


Baker & McKenzie’s global education fund is the major benefactor behind the Australian centre. The firm, which has one of Australia's top information and communication technology practices, will provide specialist lecturers as required.  It is also represented on the Centre’s Management Committee and Mr Dixon has been appointed its first research associate.


Baker & McKenzie's national ITC practice leader Anthony Foley said: “We hope the Centre will  make a major contribution to the policy debate about cyberspace issues in this country.  The time is right for the creation of a regular forum where academics, lawyers, industry players and government can come together and share knowledge and expertise ."


“While Baker & McKenzie is thrilled to support the Centre and will use it to help train our own lawyers, it represents a valuable resource for everyone who wants to make a contribution the development of sound legislation and business practices for cyberspace transactions,” Mr Foley said.


The first two-day course - on Cyberspace Regulation: eCommerce and Content - is being held this week.


For further details please contact:


Anna Grutzner, Fenton Communications on (02) 9290 3777

Anthony Foley, Baker & McKenzie on (02) 9225 0289

Janet Morris, Baker & McKenzie on (02) 9225 0248


Notes to Editors

·         Baker & McKenzie was founded in Chicago over 50 years ago and now has 61 offices in 35 jurisdictions.

·         The Firm established a truly global presence, with an office in each of the world’s major money centres, more than 25 years ago.

·         Worldwide, Baker & McKenzie has 589 partners, 2,840 qualified lawyers and nearly 4,000 legal professionals.  The Chairman of the International Firm is Christine Lagarde.

·         Head of the Baker & McKenzie's Australian IT and Communications practice is Anthony Foley, Partner, Sydney office.