[ISN] Hacking to become a crime (new legislation)

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Sun Apr 11 1999 - 19:46:12 PDT

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    Forwarded From: William Knowles <erehwonat_private>
    April 12, 1999
    Hacking to become a crime
    THE GOVERNMENT is to take long-awaited steps towards plugging electronic
    crime loopholes by proposing four new offences for the Crimes Act.
    It will become a criminal act to access a computer system with a dishonest
    purpose, to attempt to access a computer system for a dishonest purpose,
    to damage or interfere with a computer system, and to have unauthorised
    access to a computer.
    The proposed amendments would make hacking, or entering a system without
    permission, a crime, which it currently is not.
    Justice Minister Tony Ryall says that the amendments will be included in a
    Bill that addresses broader property law issues, to be introduced this
    Parliamentary session.
    Mr Ryall says the amendments target computer hackers and virus spreaders.
    "The Government intends to introduce a number of amendments to protect
    computer owners from unlawful access to their systems and dishonest use of
    the data and information stored on their computer systems."
    The Crimes Act was drafted in 1961 and predates crimes made possible by
    current computer technology.
    The minister has been considering a draft report covering hacking issues,
    and a 1998 Law Commission report, for several months.
    Hacking incidents involving Internet service providers the Internet Group
    (Ihug) and Telecom's Xtra late last year underscored the lack of
    legislation to deal with computer criminals.
    The man accused of hacking into Xtra, Andrew Garrett, last week pleaded
    not guilty to seven charges brought under current legislation.  These
    charges include obtaining credit from Telecom without revealing that he
    was bankrupt, and using software documents for his own gain.
    The Law Commission's report was prompted by a Court of Appeal case that
    allowed a group of men to appeal convictions for dishonesty - because
    using a document to dishonestly make a bank credit an account is not a
    crime under current legislation.
    According to the minister, "recent Court of Appeal cases have highlighted
    the need to update the criminal law to take account of new technology and
    computer-related offending".
    On releasing the report in December, the Law Commission called for urgent
    action to plug the gap in criminal law.
    The commission has since set up an advisory committee to produce a
    discussion paper on computer misuse, which is scheduled for release at the
    end of this month.
    This report is due to contain recommendations for legislative reform that
    may be more wide-ranging than the minister's proposals.
    The Internet Society of New Zealand has called for action on electronic
    crime legislation, and lawyers who specialise in the information
    technology area also say new legislation is needed if computer criminals
    are to be successfully prosecuted.
    After last year's hacking incidents, Ihug initiated the formation of a
    lobby group to push for law reform.
    The Network of Internet Related Organisations (Niro) now has 50 member
    groups and a Web site due to go online this week.
    Members include Web designers and Internet companies, with most of the
    major Internet providers involved.
    Lawyer Chris Patterson represents Niro, and says the Web site will
    function as a discussion forum, where laws will be proposed and discussed.
    He says a special piece of electronic crime law is needed, rather than any
    amendments to existing law.
    "We need the equivalent to the American Computer Abuse and Fraud Act.  We
    need to be able to say that there are certain things that are criminal
    acts, which the Crimes Act just won't have the capacity to deal with."
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