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Life Sentences For Serious Cyberattacks Proposed In Britain

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the do-not-pass-go dept.

United Kingdom 216

Bismillah (993337) writes 'The British government wants life in prison for hackers who cause disruption to computer networks, resulting in loss of life or threat to the country's national security. From the article: "The UK government will seek to amend the 1990 Computer Misuse Act "to ensure sentences for attacks on computer systems fully reflect the damage they cause. Currently, the law provides for a maximum sentence of ten years' imprisonment for those who commit the offence of impairing a computer. A new, aggravated offence of unauthorised access to a computer will be introduced into the Computer Misuse Act by the government, carrying far longer sentences."'

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Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (3, Insightful)

johnjaydk (584895) | about 4 months ago | (#47170265)

Stupid gits.

Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 4 months ago | (#47170381)

You already know that they are stupid, man, please try you rbest to not ever give them _any_ more idea !

Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (5, Insightful)

MRe_nl (306212) | about 4 months ago | (#47170383)

No, the death sentence is reserved for politicians and prime ministers who go to war on false pretenses just to get re-elected, resulting in loss of life or threat to the country's national security. From the article: "The UK government will seek to ensure sentences for attacks on society fully reflect the damage they cause".

Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (1)

ThaumaTechnician (2701261) | about 4 months ago | (#47170793)

Damn you! I came here to say this!

Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 4 months ago | (#47171005)

No, the death sentence is reserved for politicians and prime ministers who go to war on false pretenses just to get re-elected

The strange thing is that this isn't even a very good strategy, at least not in the UK. Blair's administration only just retained power at the general election after going to war in Iraq, and even that was because of a combination of quirks in our electoral system. At the following election, it was closer to "Labour? Who are they?".

Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (4, Informative)

infolation (840436) | about 4 months ago | (#47170431)

Until 1998, we had the death penalty as a punishment for high treason against the crown, so under that law it would have been possible to punish a computer offence with death if the defendant had disrupted a computer network with the intention of committing treason.

But not only was the death penalty for treason abolished [wikipedia.org] ; we're prohibited from restoring the death penalty (for any offence) as long as we're signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47170457)

Well, considering the damage various wars have caused to the faith in crown and country, some politicians should be very GLAD there's no death penalty for high treason anymore.

Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (2)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 4 months ago | (#47170521)

Death is reserved for people who are unable to reform and function in society, who are unable to function within the prison system, and who are unable to be medicated into submission for their natural lives. Death is not a punishment, it is a method of protecting society from someone so utterly abhorrent that it is literally impossible to allow them to continue living.

I don't know of anybody like that. I'm glad we don't have the death penalty.

Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47170927)

Thats different, treason would mean your giving away military secrets, or classified projects lead by government forces/agencies, to the enemy. This is vastly different, but I see the abuses from this law fall right into line with the dip-shits who came up with the (US) CFAA law.

Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47171339)

And you wonder why Scotland wants out of the UK? ;)

Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (1)

sa1lnr (669048) | about 4 months ago | (#47170465)

"A hack that causes deaths, serious illness or injury"

So what kind of punishment do you propose for such actions?

Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (5, Insightful)

vivian (156520) | about 4 months ago | (#47170599)

I don't see why causing death by a hack should have any special treatment compared to causing death by an ice pick, a bullet, high voltage electricity, or any other exotic means.

There should be no special legislation needed for this.

Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47170739)

It is too easy to disprove that you were trying to kill someone using your hack leading to manslaughter charges at most. The biggest issue I see with this kind of law is something like Snowden's case. I have seen many claims that Snowden's leaks have caused the deaths of many people, using this law you could then charge Snowden (or a British equivalent) with multiple counts of murder.

Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47170865)

It is too easy to disprove that you were trying to kill someone using your hack leading to manslaughter charges at most. The biggest issue I see with this kind of law is something like Snowden's case. I have seen many claims that Snowden's leaks have caused the deaths of many people, using this law you could then charge Snowden (or a British equivalent) with multiple counts of murder.

Exactly. I would like to see a list of the persons allegedly killed due to the factual information Edward Snowden has released. Oh, the government claims they cannot release the names due to "operational considerations"...bullshit.

Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 4 months ago | (#47171101)

Oh, the government claims they cannot release the names due to "operational considerations"...

This is why allowing vague terms like "national security" or "terrorism" as a justification for any penalty in law is dangerous. There is a certain irony in this news arriving on the same day that there are moves to hold a terrorism trial completely in secret. It's not so long after the Gary McKinnon fiasco, either.

Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (1)

jythie (914043) | about 4 months ago | (#47170867)

It should not. However throwing it in there makes the law sound reasonable so they can extend the punishment for more abstract crimes like 'our contractor charged us X million dollars to clean up' and 'we lost customers due to our crappy security being exploited'.

Throw a bit about death and injury in there, but it will probably get used for monetary losses.

Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about 4 months ago | (#47171215)

Precisely, and the national security aspect just sounds like a way of jailing any hacker they don't like (think Edward Snowden, Julian Assange) for a long time.

We already have manslaughter and murder laws, I hate laws that double up on the same crime, they lead to abuse by the justice system.

Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47171229)

What kind of punishment do you propose for a theft that causes people to die from hunger? What kind of punishment for corruption that causes a hospital to run out of funds to treat patients?

Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (-1, Flamebait)

Wootery (1087023) | about 4 months ago | (#47170493)

Which moron thought this Insightful? Yeesh.

Care to actually make a point? I know we all like digging on the government(s), but there's nothing obviously wrong with the idea that severe punishment might sometimes be appropriate for a crime committed using a computer...

Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (1)

coastwalker (307620) | about 4 months ago | (#47170561)

Typical posturing crap from politicians. No doubt teenagers will be sent to prison for life for discovering security vulnerabilities. Having said that the morons known as the general population put up with this shit so lets concentrate on saving the children from terrorists and pedos by turning off the internet. When they have safely grown up we can pay them benefits cheques instead of a job or put them in prison for the rest of their lives sewing mail bags. Lets get our priorities right eh.

Civilisation is collapsing all around us and being replaced with a gulag.

Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (2)

Number42 (3443229) | about 4 months ago | (#47170581)

Stupid svns

FTFY.

Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 4 months ago | (#47170715)

I guess that law the brits have about causing the death of one of its own citizens can't be found? I'm not to understanding of english law, let me speak this out. "If a person stabs and hacks some slob in the middle of the street, that's murder. Ok, that makes sense. But if that same killer is the one that turns off that same poor slob's life support machine, there is an english question as the, 'cause of death' ?"

I thought U.S. law enforcement were the lazyest on this planet, now the U.K. is trying to compete? I believe that sitting on your ass and watching TV with a cup of coffee/tea is not law enforcement. And if law enforcement types find that walking amungst the citizens is not a plus, then maybe they should find a new job.

Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47170855)

You can't recruit dead people. Leave the convicted in solitary confinement for 2 years and they will be happy to talk to anyone or even get a job.

-Lazy Coward who doesn't sign up

Re:Why not the death sentence while You're at it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47171009)

Hacking that will cause death , serious injury or sickness my question is what will you suggest for these kinds of acts ??

if they float they are guilty (4, Insightful)

ei4anb (625481) | about 4 months ago | (#47170271)

The cyber laws in some countries seem to be inspired by fear of the unknown, reminds me of the Salem Witch Trials. The next test for guilt in "hackers" might be that they float

http://listverse.com/2012/07/2... [listverse.com]

Re:if they float they are guilty (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47170413)

The next test for guilt in "hackers" might be that they float

Real hackers only use int.

Re:if they float they are guilty (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | about 4 months ago | (#47171335)

The next test for guilt in "hackers" might be that they float

Real hackers only use int.

Which is funny if you use a language where "real" means float (i.e. a real number, as opposed to rational or integer). At least Fortran does this, and I think we can all agree that Fortran is one of the few languages fit for a Real hacker.

Re: if they float they are guilty (1)

JockTroll (996521) | about 4 months ago | (#47170513)

LET YOU$="NEWT". There, I have done it now.

Re:if they float they are guilty (2)

ewanm89 (1052822) | about 4 months ago | (#47170633)

Aapparently we are just over a decade behind the US where a hacker could "start a nuclear war by whistling into a pay phone".

Re:if they float they are guilty (1)

LookIntoTheFuture (3480731) | about 4 months ago | (#47170785)

The next test for guilt in "hackers" might be that they float

- What makes you think she's a witch?
- She turned me into a newt!
- A newt?
- I got better.
- Burn her anyway!
- Quiet! Quiet!
- There are ways of telling whether she is a witch.
- Are there? What are they? Tell us. - Do they hurt?
- Tell me, what do you do with witches?
- Burn them!
- And what do you burn, apart from witches?
- More witches! - Wood!
- So why do witches burn?
- 'Cause they're made of wood? - Good!
- So, how do we tell if she is made of wood?
- Build a bridge out of her.
- Ah, but can you not also make bridges out of stone?
- Oh, yeah.
- Does wood sink in water?
- No, it floats. - Throw her into the pond!
- What also floats in water?
- Bread. - Apples.
- Very small rocks. - Cider! Great gravy.
- Cherries. Mud. - Churches! Churches!
- Lead! Lead!

Re:if they float they are guilty (1)

fredrated (639554) | about 4 months ago | (#47170949)

So you mean, there really are no hackers?

Re:if they float they are guilty (2)

laejoh (648921) | about 4 months ago | (#47170953)

Ah, duck typing!

Re:if they float they are guilty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47171135)

Doesn't help that the s'kiddies* in computer security bandy the term around with wild abandon, including several modifiers to seem more "bad ass". Adding a (supposedly fashionable) danger sauce on your own persona makes you that much more appetizing for politicians out for doing things that'll please the voters, like legislating against (perceived) badness.

If you're in the security business you really ought to know what steps are likely to attract that sort of attention and you perhaps ought not to deliberately go there. Yet many a meal ticket has been made exactly out of that within the oh so special world of computer security.

It's not quite as bad as the Salem trials (yet), compare McCarthyism for a worse example (so far). But the abuse of terminology has helped neither the hackers nor the wannabe bunch in the security industry. That it is doing real damage shouldn't be too hard to see: The practice has already cost somebody his fourth amendment rights.

* There are very few people with the hacker mindset in computer security; it's nearly all posers regurgitating the 9000th variation on a few well-known exploit vector mechanisms. The cake got taken by this guy announcing themselves to be "hacker and professor". Calling yourself a hacker means you did not do the research.

Life Sentences! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47170279)

How about for corruption, embezzlement and all the other ways criminals and terrorists outright destroy the lives of citizens daily?

Re:Life Sentences! (2, Insightful)

Alain Williams (2972) | about 4 months ago | (#47170295)

Add self-serving & corrupt bankers and lawyers to that lot and you get my vote

Re:Life Sentences! (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47170463)

You got that wrong. We want to lock up those that could present a danger to the powers that are, not the ones that fund them.

Re:Life Sentences! (1)

coastwalker (307620) | about 4 months ago | (#47170569)

You dont count, its only crimes against the State that attract special attention. Nothing like as bad as China but with stuff like this we are equally capable of creating bad law.

Ads Disabled? Really? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47170293)

What the fuck is up with the 'Ads Disabled' feature being broken since last night? It's like /. is doing everything they can to drive away long time users.

Another case of 'same, but with a computer' (5, Insightful)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | about 4 months ago | (#47170301)

The first part 'loss of life' should already be covered by simply applying murder and/or manslaughter charges. There is no reason to invent a new law for this, only because it's done with a computer.

The second part 'threat to the country's national security' on the other hand is such a broad term, it is basicly a blank check where they can fill in any sentence for any crime as they wish.

So I guess it's really about the second part, and the first part is only there to give it more weight: 'HACKERS MIGHT KILL YOU!'

Combine it with the other announcement. (4, Insightful)

DrYak (748999) | about 4 months ago | (#47170359)

The second part 'threat to the country's national security' on the other hand is such a broad term, it is basicly a blank check where they can fill in any sentence for any crime as they wish.

Now combine this with the other announcement: "UK Seeks To Hold Terrorism Trial In Secret" so such "threat the national security" rule also means that the trial get to be secret.

So I guess it's really about the second part, and the first part is only there to give it more weight: 'HACKERS MIGHT KILL YOU!'

Yup. To me it sounds like "You do something we don't like with a computer? We get the right to disappear you! For Life! Cause, you see, it's a matter of national security. Thus the trial is secret, and the sentence is life"

Re:Combine it with the other announcement. (1)

infolation (840436) | about 4 months ago | (#47170471)

Since embedded computers are so pervasive in domestic appliances, it seems as though some lateral thinking by the security services could result in all sorts of breaches of the law.

EG:

People have fridges with embedded computers, that can re-stock themselves with food by ordering online. Disrupting that computerised fridge could be seen as attempting to starve them to death with a computer:

'cause deadly civil unrest through cutting off food distribution, telecommunications networks or energy supplies'

Re:Another case of 'same, but with a computer' (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about 4 months ago | (#47170365)

The first part 'loss of life' should already be covered by simply applying murder and/or manslaughter charges. There is no reason to invent a new law for this, only because it's done with a computer.

A cynical guess as to why they might want a separate law is because the prosecutor doesn't want to have to actually prove murder and/or manslaughter according to conventional standards of evidence.

Re:Another case of 'same, but with a computer' (1)

Ynot_82 (1023749) | about 4 months ago | (#47170415)

HACKERS MIGHT KILL YOU

http://intrawebnet.com/wp-cont... [intrawebnet.com] ;)

Re:Another case of 'same, but with a computer' (2)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 4 months ago | (#47170733)

The first part 'loss of life' should already be covered by simply applying murder and/or manslaughter charges. There is no reason to invent a new law for this, only because it's done with a computer.

That's the problem. In UK law, it is murder if you intended to kill or cause serious injury to someone, and someone dies as a result (may be another person). If some bloody idiot hacks into a hospital's computer system "for the lulu" (Safari replaces a z with an u, and I find it actually more appropriate that way), and as a result people die without any intent to cause death, then apparently this isn't murder currently.

Re:Another case of 'same, but with a computer' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47170913)

I wonder if this is related to the previous story on "secret terrorism trial" they got there...

Re:Another case of 'same, but with a computer' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47171283)

The first part 'loss of life' should already be covered by simply applying murder and/or manslaughter charges. There is no reason to invent a new law for this, only because it's done with a computer.

"Done with a computer"? Quick! Head to the patent office!

Don't trust these idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47170303)

From the government that brought you convictions for changing URLs [theregister.co.uk] .

Don't worry (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47170311)

This will never be abused to give people disproportionate sentences by stretching the definition of what a "threat to the country's national security" is.

Costs too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47170319)

Off with the head and be done with it.

Loss of life (4, Insightful)

penix1 (722987) | about 4 months ago | (#47170323)

I can see stiffer sentences if the hacking leads to loss of life DIRECTLY. For example, hacking into a hospital system and bringing down critical life saving systems.

But to me, and I don't know how the UK manslaughter laws are rigged, it would be more helpful to update those laws instead of this one.

Having said that, national security combined with unauthorized computer access can and will be used against whistleblowers of government abuse. Watch for that to happen.

Re:Loss of life (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 4 months ago | (#47170387)

I can see stiffer sentences if the hacking leads to loss of life DIRECTLY. For example, hacking into a hospital system and bringing down critical life saving systems.

But to me, and I don't know how the UK manslaughter laws are rigged, it would be more helpful to update those laws instead of this one.

Having said that, national security combined with unauthorized computer access can and will be used against whistleblowers of government abuse. Watch for that to happen.

I'm generally in favour of people not getting any discounts on sentences for 'cyber attacks'. This is partly because I remember a time long ago when certain egotistical morons saw creating malware and letting it loose on the public as a good career move, a short cut to a well paying job. However, even those people don't deserve a life sentence and whoever thought of that idea should look up the word 'draconian' in a dictionary. If a cyber attack kills somebody use the manslaughter laws, if they cause massive amounts of damage sentence them appropriately just don't try to crack down on hactivists like Anonymous by trying to lock them up for life (and let's face it that's who these laws are aimed at). That's something that you'd expect to be the knee-jerk reaction in Putin's Russia not in the United Kingdom.

Re:Loss of life (2, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 4 months ago | (#47170587)

If a cyber attack kills somebody use the manslaughter laws

Exactly.>/i>

We already have laws covering both unauthorised access to a computer, and covering loss of life (whether negligent, unintentional, or premeditated). You don't need a new law to cover them both!

Hacker causes life support machines to fail by setting off the sprinkler system, causing electrical faults? Computer Misuse Act (10 years) + Manslaughter (Unintended consequence, maximum life) = sentence
Hacker causes industrial machinery of previous employer to fail catastrophically intentionallyy causing death? Computer Misuse Act (10 years) + Murder (Life) = sentence.

It seems "Death by computer" is already covered.

Re:Loss of life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47170689)

Laws that somehow make special a tool or an emotion really need to be purged from our history. Killing or injuring someone isn't a bigger crime because you didn't like someones race. It is the same crime as killing or injuring someone because you didn't like them personally. Drawing a distinction is beyond stupid and approaching criminal in itself. It is the same crime if you kill or injure someone with a computer...

Similarly causing damage/loss of business/massive dissruptions can certainly be crimes, particularly if they apply to a large number of persons or property. It should not matter how that crime is accomplished when it comes to sentencing. It could be with a computer, or by taking an axe to cables on a telephone pole. Of course crimes where people are actually hurt or property of value is actually taken from someone would be larger crimes, but then your again combining the crime of personal injury and or theft, which are separate crimes and can be charged separately.

Re:Loss of life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47170721)

Likewise computer crime should not be limited to ten years because it included a computer.

It should match the crime.

Re:Loss of life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47171091)

But to me, and I don't know how the UK manslaughter laws are rigged, it would be more helpful to update those laws instead of this one.

In English law, it is common to bring manslaughter charges in cases of negligence, e.g. against railway companies failing to maintain safety standards and, historically, against employees of such companies. IANAL, but it seems to be that any wilful act that is in itself illegal constitutes manslaughter if it causes a death.

This is why no Briton.... (5, Insightful)

metrix007 (200091) | about 4 months ago | (#47170339)

...is in a position to criticism the US. I lived in Scotland for years, so I'm fairly familiar with the UK, and from Oz originally.

The US is losing it's way, but not as badly as the UK. Crazy amounts of surveillance, very poor rights for photographers and journalists, ridiculous laws such as going to jail if you forget an encryption key...

Not to mention this nonsense. Prison is not meant to be primarily a deterrent, but a way to rehabilitate if possible. Because, you know, the punishment should fit the crime.

Something all western countries seem to have forgotten...

Re:This is why no Briton.... (1)

Godwin O'Hitler (205945) | about 4 months ago | (#47170435)

I'm not disagreeing with any of your observations, but I do think "people who live in glass houses" isn't much of an argument, even in the best of cases.
The way I look at it is all today's governments are abominations, so they all need criticizing. And today happens to be the UK's turn.

Re:This is why no Briton.... (1)

treehouse (781426) | about 4 months ago | (#47170491)

Perhaps the British prisons succeed in rehabilitating criminals, but the US prisons only succeed in making a person unfit to live in society (other than prison society).

Re:This is why no Briton.... (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 4 months ago | (#47170541)

"Prison is not meant to be primarily a deterrent, but a way to rehabilitate if possible"

Err , sorry , excuse me? A primary deterrent is exactly what it is and a way to keep criminals out of main society. Rehabilitation comes later if it even works which with a lot of psychopaths and sex offenders it doesn't.

Re:This is why no Briton.... (1)

Xest (935314) | about 4 months ago | (#47170651)

"very poor rights for photographers"

Like what? If you mean you can't go and break into someone's garden and take pictures of them naked through their bedroom window to sell to the tabloid press, then yes, we're absolutely awful in this respect. What a shame.

Other than that apart from some police officers who got it wrong in terms of letting people take pictures where they actually could I don't really see what the deal is. I've been able to take pictures just fine in everything from military bases, to the London tube, to parliament. I'm not sure what sort of pictures you want to take but aren't allowed to.

"and journalists"

We're not exactly top of the list but the UK is listed in the press freedom index well above countries like the US and Japan and also above even some European neighbours like France. Given the liberties journalists have taken with their freedoms such as spying on the telephone messages of a serving prime minister and deleting voicemails on the phone of a girl who was missing and being searched for giving parents false hope she was alive I don't think they have much to complain about. Journalists here seem to get plenty of freedom and those who have the most - print media actually do the worst reporting. By far most quality reporting comes on TV which is actually more regulated - certainly it took the more tightly regulated TV industry to break the Jimmy Savile scandal for example.

"ridiculous laws such as going to jail if you forget an encryption key..."

You're obviously not that familiar with the UK, because you're parroting the kind of nonsense that only people who read Slashdot but don't know much about the country would parrot now. RIPA states very clearly (and yes, I've read the actual law itself) that to get someone jailed for claiming to have lost a password you have to be able to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that they haven't in fact forgotten it. The only way this has been used therefore is in cases where people have outright refused to hand it over, or where someone said in police interview they'd forgotten it, went home, accessed the information, and were raided under warrant shortly after only for the police to find log information showing they'd used the password yet were still claiming they've forgotten it, at that point it's hard to argue they weren't simply withholding it given that they'd clearly used it in a 2 hour or whatever window between denials of knowing it. You can't go to jail if you've actually forgotten your encryption key, because if you've actually genuinely forgotten it then there's no way the police can prove beyond reasonable doubt that you do in fact know it is there?

"Prison is not meant to be primarily a deterrent, but a way to rehabilitate if possible."

And this changes that how exactly? A life sentence in the UK just means a minimum term will be specified and that can be increased if the person hasn't shown signs of change or if they break their parole. It doesn't mean you spend your entire life in jail, few life sentences end up with people jailed for more than 10 years. This means we still have longer sentences than places like Norway but overall we still have one of the most liberal justice systems in the world in this respect.

A whole life order is the instrument used for someone who must stay in jail for their whole life, and this tends to be reserved for the most extreme cases such as serial killers. There are less than 50 of these in place, in a country with a population of just under 65 million that's not particularly a big deal.

I agree we have a lot of problems, GCHQ is out of control and we should never have gotten involved in the NSA spying. But even the CCTV issue is becoming less relevant since the current government placed curbs on it and many councils and police services who ran the CCTV networks have now shut many of them down.

I don't really like my country for what it's worth, I think it's full of ignorant xenophobes and people with horrendously selfish attitudes, coupled with far too many Daily Mail reading busy bodies and overseen by an electoral system that is often just elected dictatorship (elected by the biggest minority to rule with absolute power over the majority) but I am tired of seeing the same old incorrect nonsense like for example people who don't actually understand that there is a very clear provision in RIPA that was inserted after much protest by the internet community precisely to prevent exactly what people like you just claimed it can be used for.

How about the other way around? (1)

otuz (85014) | about 4 months ago | (#47170349)

Shouldn't maintainers of compromised systems be held liable for skimping on security?

Re:How about the other way around? (0)

Trepidity (597) | about 4 months ago | (#47170369)

The almost complete lack of liability that tech companies have managed to engineer for themselves via EULAs is fairly astonishing. Very few other industries have managed to pull off such a complete abdication of responsibility to deliver safe and functional products, and gotten the courts to agree with them.

Re:How about the other way around? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47170705)

When someone causes damage through computer hacking, ordinary people think it's the equivalent of someone destroying a building with explosives, so they want corresponding sentences. Only people familiar with computer security know it's the equivalent of someone destroying a building by throwing a baseball at it.

Re:How about the other way around? (1)

gsslay (807818) | about 4 months ago | (#47170539)

That's right. Blaming the victim has always been a popular tactic amongst the criminal classes.

Re:How about the other way around? (1)

Goose In Orbit (199293) | about 4 months ago | (#47170647)

So you leave your doors unlocked and open when you go out do you?

I assume nobody in your neighbourhood would even consider walking in and stealing all your shiny things...

Re:How about the other way around? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47171187)

That's right. Blaming the victim has always been a popular tactic amongst the criminal classes.

If you're using an insecure system which you know is an insecure system ... are you still a victim?

Say you know you're running a system which hasn't been patched for the Heartbleed bug, and you know about the issue (because, you pretty much couldn't know).

If you get hacked, you're not a victim, you're an idiot.

So more than Rape then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47170367)

What is the average sentence for rape in the UK these days? I've seen 5-8 years listed on sites. Lets pretend things are better with 10 years
 
. Still not life..

Ladies put a Raspberry Pi in your knickers and say it's unauthorized access.

how many of the bankers went to jail... (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47170401)

you know the ones that caused the crash through corruption and fraud...

Exactly why do the hackers go to jail for making machines write "poop" on the home screen but bankers can cause literal trillions to evaporate and we just shrug?

Just curious...

Re:how many of the bankers went to jail... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47170515)

Just call them 'financial hackers'

Imprison the whole GCHQ for life? (1)

Kirth (183) | about 4 months ago | (#47170425)

Obviously, GCHQ has done the most damage to "computer infrastructure" since the Morris worm, and funneled data about British citizens out of the country, into the hands of possible malign foreign actors.

The whole GCHQ should be arrested for treason.

Re:Imprison the whole GCHQ for life? (1)

Goose In Orbit (199293) | about 4 months ago | (#47170657)

"possible malign foreign actors"

That'll be the NSA then?

Not again (1)

Floyd-ATC (2619991) | about 4 months ago | (#47170429)

Is this another case of "misguided politician hears about Watch Dogs"?

Unless Daddy runs the NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47170445)

Look up the "Morris Worm", by Robert Tappan Morris. It's amazing how if your daddy runs the NSA, not only do you get no jail time but somehow your new job at MIT keeps your lab funded even through tight fiscal times as you produce nothing useful for 20 years.

Look up Robert Tappan Morris and the Computer Architecture Group at MIT. Must be nice to have guaranteed funding, because I've not seen that lab actually get anything *working*.

life sentences life in prison (1)

gsslay (807818) | about 4 months ago | (#47170453)

A life sentence does not equate to life in prison. They are almost always eligible for parole after 15 years.

Re: life sentences life in prison (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47170489)

Still has no relevance to the crime at hand. Rape? 5 years. Ruining the economy by embezzlement? Priceless, but free.

Re: life sentences life in prison (1)

gsslay (807818) | about 4 months ago | (#47170529)

"Rape" and "ruining the economy by embezzlement" are not the topics of this article.

Re: life sentences life in prison (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47170611)

No, but good examples of real crimes.

Do what we say... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 4 months ago | (#47170481)

.. not what we do. What is doing the GCHQ would be worth to be in jail till the sun turns into nova.

Even peaceful use of technology could be seen as an hostile act by the authorities that actually use it as a weapon.

"threat to the country's national security" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47170483)

A "threat to the country's national security" is to be punished with a life sentence? Greenwald's husband was detained for something like 10 hours on heathrow because he was called a "threat to the country's national security" presumably in the context of transfering electronic documents. Next time round they want to be able to detain him for life?

What is it that makes fascism seem like such a good idea?

Re:"threat to the country's national security" (1)

KillAllNazis (1904010) | about 4 months ago | (#47171115)

Fear.

Why not punish the CEO of the hacked organization (1)

jbrohan (1102957) | about 4 months ago | (#47170495)

There is a long tradition in UK of using horrific sentences to dissuade crime. Surely it is better to improve security by throwing a few CEOs or other well-paid company officers in Jail if they let their systems get hacked. "We should spend the money on MY BONUS not on the BORING computers"

I'd support this (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 4 months ago | (#47170533)

A criminal negligence statute that all reasonable protections against hacking must be taken to secure customer data or data which affects a countries national security. Applicable to specifically to any company officer. Make safety of data a priority.

Let's rewrite that headline. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47170601)

Life Sentences For Serious Computerattacks Proposed In Britain

Oi. The stupid. It hurts... (1)

Chas (5144) | about 4 months ago | (#47170639)

While I agree with longer sentences for repeat offenders, I can't really condone LIFE sentences for hacking/cracking.

You have people out there knifing, stabbing, shooting and strangling people when they're not just straight out beating them to death or killing them with a car.

You have people committing all sorts of frauds that cost people their life savings and endanger their health and well-being.

All of these people get slaps on the wrist. But a hacker/cracker should get life?

Uh. WHAT?

Basically this is yet another idiotic extension of "zero tolerance".

Prescribe a needlessly harsh punishment on the off chance you actually catch them (which isn't a deterrent), so you don't even have to think about it if they DO get caught.

This is ignorance and fear taking the reins.

Re:Oi. The stupid. It hurts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47170809)

You are right, the stupid does indeed hurt.

This is not "hack == life" it is "large crime (involving hacking) can now go up to life". You hack into your school computer and change your grades, you are not going to get life. You hack into /. to delete posts you disagree with, not gonna get life. Hack into playboy.com to get all the pictures, you are not going to get life. Create a virus that pops up pictures of your mum on infected computers, not going to get life.

You hack into the electricity company and turn off the power, you may get life.
You hack into the telecommunications gird during a random day, not likely to get life.
You hack into the telecommunications gird during a terrorist attack, you may get life.

fuck beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47170697)

fuck beta man fuck it hard and shitless whore

"Life" != Life (2)

TractorBarry (788340) | about 4 months ago | (#47170711)

The phrase "life imprisonment" means nothing in the UK. Recently a man absconded from a prison who was said to be serving 3 life sentences. From reading the newspaper article reporting the case it transpired that his tariff was actually 13 years (sorry can't remember which paper or exact details).

So when being used by the UK justice system the term "life" would seem to refer to about an average dogs life. It's totally meaningless and quite frankly an insult to your intelligence.

This being the case "life" for computer related offences will probably mean you serve about 1/2 hour in an open prison - unless you take some money off someone powerful in which case you'll probably get a "life" sentence of about 10 years.

This doesn't take away fropm the fact that this is anoter pathetic, ill thought out, idea for legislation dreamt up by one of the useless cretins currently in parliament.

The UK justice system is a sad joke whose only purpose is to protect the rich and powerful (same as the world over really)

Re:"Life" != Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47171139)

Bollocks. The point of a life sentence in English law is that a criminal can be held in prison until he dies if he is found to be unrepentant and/or still dangerous. However, if he's judged to be reformed and safe he can come out after the minimum tariff without needing a retrial. This is a win-win.

Re:"Life" != Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47171219)

Life never equals life, nor should it.

> . It's totally meaningless

10 years of your life is "totally meaningless"?! Really? That is a little under 1/3 of my life thus far. That would be my daughter going from a little girl to a teenager.

> This doesn't take away fropm the fact that this is anoter pathetic, ill thought out, idea for legislation dreamt up by one of the useless cretins currently in parliament.

Without making shit up, tell us why. It is not "hacking insto-life!", it is "within this reasonably well defined list, life can be used".

Translation = (1)

Grand Facade (35180) | about 4 months ago | (#47170787)

Those with the fat purses,
who own the computers,
do not wish to spend the $ to secure said computers.

Misuse is a pretty vague term
Hacking
impairing
Attacking
Are not far behind.

What Could POSSIBLY Go Wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47170899)

I'm absolutely sure that no overzealous prosecutors will EVER use this to inflate the charges and try to extort a confession.

- See Schwartz, Aaron.

Smells like a planned way to... (1)

carlhaagen (1021273) | about 4 months ago | (#47170923)

...label pretty much any hacking as "life-threatening or endangering the nation's security". I mean, we've seen this before, in how people who pirate TV shows and software are by American organizations pretty much labelled "terrorists".

Re:Smells like a planned way to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47171341)

Example please.

Sensationist Bullshit (4, Informative)

Martin S. (98249) | about 4 months ago | (#47170935)

The linked story is Sensationist Bullshit, there is no such measure announced in the Queens speech, (Queens-Speech-2014-The-full-transcript) [telegraph.co.uk]

The planned "Serious Crime Bill" [www.gov.uk] will ensure sentences for attacks on computer systems fully reflect the damage they cause.

Given the current Computer Misuse act is absolutely useless [lawteacher.net] this is a good move.

Will they include MI5, MI6 and GCHQ? (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 4 months ago | (#47170979)

the whole "cyberattack" thing is grossly overblown and is primarily a) outrage of US/UK against those doing the same to it as it does to them and b) a mega growth industry to complement or be absorbed by the current military industrial complex.

Conspiracy THEORY (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47171057)

It turns out the conspiracy theory is actually a conspiracy fact. And they call US nut jobs.

Such a harsh penalty for a victimless 'crime' is a tyrannical act. This usually means it's time to step up the cyber attacks, not reduce them. They only impose a penalty that harsh when they are scared and vulnerable. They realize that people are no longer going to be fooled by Snowden's wild claims that anything can be unencrypted. Trust the math, and be vigilent.

Encouraging another Snowden? (1)

pauljosaph (3667911) | about 4 months ago | (#47171073)

Encouraging another Snowden? That sounds like a "significant risk" to national security - that'll be a one life sentence for you. On top of that, it could easily lead to "social disruption". That'll be another 14 years.

Too inflated already (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 4 months ago | (#47171077)

Computer related crimes are already too inflated already, and there are means for which most any serious intrusion could be met with stacked charges. There are probably one or two cases a decade where this might be needed, but I suspect it will be abused far more often than that, especially since 'national security' is involved.

um (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47171125)

How long do you think it will take for them to apply this to some high-school senior that hacks his grades or something? A month?

Idiots (1)

koan (80826) | about 4 months ago | (#47171145)

They rarely give life sentences for murder, but OMG computer crime? You're done.
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