Wednesday 2 January 2008

I am a security consultant, you are a hacker, he has been charged under Section 3A of the Computer Misuse Act

In April of this year it is likely that the government will bring into force amendments to the CMA that criminalise "Making, supplying or obtaining articles" that assist someone in breaching other parts of the act.
What is wrong with this you ask? Well the net they are casting is very wide and although there are guidelines on how to avoid prosecuting those who are doing good works, it does rely on the legal profession understanding what exactly is going up in a very technical sphere that historically that have failed to grasp.
There are tests for the prosecution to use when trying to decide, but they don't completely reflect the state of the industry, with the idea that having to pay for software makes it more legitimate. Another problem is that having a lot of people using your tools in a legal way lends it credence so if you create a useful tool that people work out how to use in a bad way very quickly after release, you may well have to work at convincing the authorities that you didn't mean it to do so.
Richard Clayton has further comment on the subject.

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