Aussies: prosecute hackers as terrorists

From Grant Bayley <>
Date Thu, 1 Mar 2001 22:35:57 +1100 (EST)

[: hacktivism :],2000013063,20205509,00.htm

"Over half of 600 Australian ZDNet readers questioned in a recent survey
said they thought that Australia should follow the UK's lead and catch out
computer hackers."

Great sample size.

Great audience profiling.


Since when is 600 people a reasonable sample size for claiming that
"Aussies" want hackers prosecuted as "terrorists"?  For a country of
19-odd million, 600 seems a tad small.  Nothing like making news
out of nothing, eh?  Ignoring that, the story failed to mention that the
Model Criminal Code in Australia currently being drafted already has
provisions for terms of imprisonment up to 10 years for unauthorised
impairment of electronic communications.  Interestingly, a cursory read
of the Terrorism Act, 2000 reveals that there are no areas that appear to
deal specifically with computer related issues, which would tend to
support the assertion of the lawyer in the original story that the act
could only be used to catch the most serious computer-related crimes.
A more detailed look is just plain confusing, because the only obvious
area of the legislation that ties in with the potential for
electronic interference is that which relates to persons that incite acts
of terrorism outside the United Kingdom ("outside" includes Northern

All in all, very different from the issue that the Australian ZDNet site
appears to have surveyed users about.

The original story didn't even make mention that the law was from the same
stable as the notorious Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill, which
passed the House of Lords last year with a majority amongst the 30 our ot
659 pollies that decided to turn up and vote that day.

       Original ZDNet story
       "Hackers will become terrorists under UK law"
       Australian Model Criminal Code: Damage and Computer Offences Report
       Pp. 87-183, 171 specifically.
       Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act
       Story noting the passing of RIP
(Ref:  Search for "investigatory" on for more info)
       The Terrorism Act 2000 (Resources Page)
       (Passed on 21st July, 2000, came into force on 19th Feb, 2001)

If there's two things I'd draw out of this, it's that:

a) ZDNet creates headlines for itself on slow news days by asking users
for Yes/No opinions on an issue that is neither fully explained nor fully
placed in a local context.  (When did you last see an IRA operative in

b) Australia should perhaps be wary of following any British precedent
regarding computer crime issues/law when the targets are potentially so
different and when technology-related laws are passed with such a
uselessly small majority.

Rachel, can your readers expect more than 30 seconds of research next

Grant Bayley
2600 Australia

On Thu, 1 Mar 2001, Tony Barry wrote:

> Aussies: prosecute hackers as terrorists
> Australians are in favour of the British Government's recent move to
> broaden the
> definition of terrorism to include computer hacking and believe
> cyber-terrorists
> should be prosecuted accordingly, according to a ZDNet survey.
> --
> phone  +61 2 6241 7659

[: hacktivism :]
[: for unsubscribe instructions or list info consult the list FAQ :]
[: :]