Jurisdiction key in NZ's first hacking case

New Zealand's new anti-hacking laws extend to damage done by New Zealanders even if that damage occurs overseas.

New Zealand's new anti-hacking laws extend to damage done by New Zealanders even if that damage occurs overseas.

A man will appear in the Dunedin District Court tomorrow on charges relating to damage inflicted on a company website in Maryland in the US.

He was granted interim name suppression and the police declined to name the company involved.

The head of the police e-crimes unit, Martin Kleintjes, says although the damage was done overseas, the crime was committed in New Zealand.

"It doesn't matter where the damage was done, the crime was committed here because the keys were pushed here," says Kleintjes.

He says the situation over jurisdiction has been clarified in the Crimes Amendment Act.

"There was potential conflict [over jurisdictional issues] with computer crime so they've made sure it was built in to the act, which is good because otherwise criminals could hide in other jurisdictions and we'd never catch them."

The New Zealand police became involved in the Dunedin case through international contacts developed as part of involvement in a G8 sub-group on high-tech crime.

Auckland-based barrister and IT law specialist Mark Copeland says the criminal law says the issue of jurisdiction for computer-related crimes is paramount.

"The act which makes up the offence, in this case accessing a computer system, was done in New Zealand so they're justified in bringing a prosecution in New Zealand under New Zealand law."

Copeland says this is in contrast to a defamation case between Australian businessman Joe Gutnick and a US-based website run by Dow Jones where Gutnick alleges he was defamed in Australia even though the website was published in the US.

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