IT lawyer calls for e-laws

IT lawyer Craig Horrocks believes the trial of a man accused of hacking into Xtra user accounts only serves to emphasise the lack of legislation in New Zealand regarding electronic crime.

IT lawyer Craig Horrocks believes the trial of a man accused of hacking into Xtra user accounts only serves to emphasise the lack of legislation in New Zealand regarding electronic crime.

"What they've charged him with is not actually breaking into a computer - it's using what he's got off the computer."

Andrew Garrett has been charged with 14 counts of using a document, two of forgery and one of threatening property.

The Crown alleges that Garrett used Back Orifice to steal passwords and account details of two Xtra customers.

Garrett denies using the passwords.

"We don't have a law that will deal with this - or even with a denial of service (DoS) attack. In the US this sort of attack would be a criminal offence. Here it is not."

Horrocks says the Crown could try charging a hacker with breaking and entering or with criminal damage if he physically damaged a machine but he believes deleting or "damaging" data wouldn't be covered by the law.

"It's a wonderful illustration of how poorly our laws deal with these things and that the police can't charge people with the right crime."

Horrocks says even the legislation before committee at the moment won't go so far as to deal with a DoS attack.

"These attacks are more of a problem than simple hacking and they're not being addressed by parliament."

An amendment to the Crimes Act is before a select committee at the moment but doesn't address DoS attacks.

"If you've got a denial of service attack occurring you should be able to send out a notice and if it doesn't cease immediately it becomes a criminal offence."

Horrocks says the US government has taken "an age-old offence" in the form of trespass laws and applied it to computers.

Paul Swain is the associate minister of Justice and is in charge of electronic crimes legislation.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Market Place

[]