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Computer Misuse Act changes are delayed further
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Wed May 14, 2008 4:51 am Reply and quote this post
Denial of service attacks will not be criminalised in Englandand Wales for another six months despite measures lying unused inexisting laws since 2006. Changes to the Computer Misuse Act willnot be activated until October.

The Home Office confirmed to OUT-LAW.COM that the long-awaitedchanges will not happen now as planned, but in October. It hadpreviously said that the changes would be implemented in spring ofthis year.
The changes are already in force in Scotland. A Statutory Instrument was passed lastyear which brought them into force on 1st October 2007.
The changes will make clear that denial of service attacksare illegal. Such attacks can disable a website or computer networkthrough the automated sending of countless, near-simultaneousmessages which clog up a network.
The changes will also make it an offence to distribute toolswhich are "likely" to be used for hacking computer networks. Thispart of the law has been controversial because experts have warnedthat it could criminalise some research into hacking.

Anyone found guilty of launching a denial of service attackcould be imprisoned for up to 10 years. The new law also increasesthe maximum sentence for unauthorised access to computer networksfrom six months to two years.
The changes are to be made by bringing into force some parts ofthe Police & Justice Act and the Serious Crime Act that havebeen passed but have remained inactive.
The Home Office said that a Statutory Instrument will bringthose parts of the law into force in October 2008, though it couldnot give a precise date.

The specific outlawing of denial of service attacks was thoughtnecessary after a teenager was cleared of any offence after sendingfive million emails to his employer.
Lennon's lawyer successfully argued that because his employer'semail server was designed to accept emails, Lennon committed nooffence in sending email to it.
The trial judge found that no offence had been committed underthe Computer Misuse Act, though the Court of Appeal later ruledthat the judge had been wrong to draw that conclusion.

The changes to the law were made in November 2006.

  1. Computer misuse offences

    1. 1.
      Unauthorised access to computer material.

    2. 2.
      Unauthorised access with intent to commit or facilitate commission of further offences.

    3. 3.
      Unauthorised modification of computer material.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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