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Government gets tough on hackers

Accidentally includes newsgroups and ISPs in its new Terrorism Act, as well

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Politicians really ought to hire consultants when they are tapping out their policy plans and such - otherwise minor blunders like the astonishingly broad parameters of Monday's "Terrorism Act 2000" slip through relatively unnoticed. Under the new law, people who plant bombs and such remain terrorists, but cybercrime is also to be viewed dimly, with hackers being written into the definition of a terrorist for the first time. If you "seriously disrupt an electronic system" in order to promote "a political, religious or ideological cause" to the government or public, then sorry old chum, you're a terrorist, and that's some very hot water you're in. Of course, such a vague law will be difficult to enforce. In the best case, junior hackers who really are of no danger to anybody could be strung up by their entrails for next to nothing, and in the worst case, the "unfortunate, over-wide draft," as one lawyer put it, could implicate newsgroup readers and Internet Service Providers in cases of terrorism. As reported on The Register, under Section 12 titled "Support", the Act makes it an offense to arrange, manage or assist in arranging a meeting (private or public) in which one of the "terrorist organisations" meets. It seems unlikely that the government really knew what it was doing at the time, and many have questioned just why exactly they didn't consult extensively before passing such an unworkable law. Lawyers, however, are not being so quick to slam, saying that it will be important to see how the first Jurors take it into account. So presumably, the next time a young, freckled scamp is pulled up before the Old Bailey for attempting to change the score on his mocks, we'll know for certain just how far the law stretches.

Source - The Register

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