Oliver Grau on 20 Feb 2001 09:34:32 -0000

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[rohrpost] Neue Gesetze...

Hackers become terrorists under new law
By Will Knight
Mon, 19 Feb 2001 16:35:00 GMT
URL: http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/2001/7/ns-21060.html

Computer hacking comes under government scrutiny with new terrorism act
Computer hackers could be classed as terrorists under a UK law that came
into force today.
The Terrorism Act 2000 is designed to prevent dissident political groups
from using the UK as a base for terrorism and recognises a new threat
from cyberterrorists for the first time.
But the Act also significantly widens the definition of terrorism to
include those actions that "seriously interfere with or seriously disrupt
an electronic system". According to the Act this only applies to actions
"designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public", but
it will be up to police investigators to decide when this is the case.
The Act gives police the power to detain suspects for 48-hours without a
Alex Gordon, a partner with London law firm Berwin Leyton and a
specialist in information technology law, said the act gives police
significant new powers over computer criminals. "The Act does catch
serious computer hacking," he said.
Gordon said it is unlikely that the act could be used to target all
computer hackers. However,he said the legislation is so new that
guidelines still need to be drawn up.
Just as many marginal political groups fear that the new legislation
could lead to the suppression of legitimate offline demonstrations, some
cyberactivists are concerned that it could stifle legitimate Internet
UK ISP GreenNet, which hosts a variety of Web sites belonging to
political activists and campaigners, could be affected by the Act.
GreenNet consultant and online activist Paul Mobbs, who has coordinated
protests through his site, Electrohippies, says that the Act may result
in Internet campaigns being controlled.
"As more people get on the Internet, it inevitably becomes politicised,"
he says. "If a group did an email campaign to the prime minister and that
disrupted an email system that could be defined as terrorism."
Mobbs believes that the Act could even be used by a authoritarian
government to stop legitimate political activism.
Mobbs courted controversy
(http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/2000/10/ns-14021.html) in March 2000 when he
created a point-and-click method of attacking the World Trade
Organisation's Web sites as part of global protests against capitalism.
The government has broadened the definition of terrorism to include
computer-related activity because it is concerned that militant groups
are increasingly turning to computer hacking techniques. Internet
activism is becoming more evident, with politically-motivated computer
hackers, or "hacktivists
(http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/2000/44/ns-18954.html)", defacing
(http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/1999/49/ns-12109.html) Web pages with
political messages and blocking off Internet sites for political reasons.
Home secretary Jack Straw has signalled that he intends to clamp down on
those exploiting computers and the Internet to perpetrate terrorist
activity under the new Act.
"[Terrorists] are no respecters of borders and are continuously
developing new approaches and techniques," says Straw. "With the
implementation of the Terrorism Act 2000, the UK is making a very firm
statement of our intent to combat terrorism, with every legitimate means
at our disposal, whenever and wherever it occurs."
The growth of cyberterrorism has been made particularly evident in the
activities of Palestinian and Israeli hackers, playing their part in the
ongoing Middle East conflict. Their online feud, dubbed an "e-Jihad", has
seen protagonists deface and block politically opposed Web sites and
bombard enemies with avalanches of email.
Evidence (http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2687046,00.html)
suggests that this type of activism is growing in popularity among other
regional militant groups.
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