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05 November 2007, 13:20

U.S. Senate reviews new Cyber Crime Act

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A new bill to facilitate the prosecution of cyber crime has just passed the US Senate's judiciary committee. Presented by Republican Senator Orrin P. Hatch and his Democratic colleague Joseph Biden, the Cyber Crime Act is included in the new "Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act", which is about to be submitted to the Senate. The Act is designed to take current technological developments into account in the prosecution of cyber attacks, data and identity theft and the spread of computer viruses and trojans, in order to improve the prospects of success in damages claims.

The bill would also overcome a number of obstacles that federal authorities face when prosecuting computer criminals. For instance, the current minimum detriment – 5,000 US dollars – has been done away with completely, as has the the stipulation that attacks must be committed across US state lines. If the bill is passed, attacks that cause only minor damage to a large number of computers would also fall under the mandate of federal authorities. Thereby, creating and operating a bot network would become a federal crime even if no major damage were caused.

The bill also contains a new clause pertaining to the theft of data and identities: it would become an offence to threaten to steal and publish data for personal profit. In addition, victims of identity theft would no longer receive damages merely for losses incurred, but in addition for the time spent rearranging their personal affairs to protect themsleves in the aftermath of the identity theft.


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