Expatica news

Donner turns up heat on computer hackers

2 March 2004

AMSTERDAM — Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner has proposed a crackdown on computer hackers, demanding that anyone found guilty of such crimes in future should be sentenced to 12-months jail.

Besides stronger punishments for people who intentionally and without permission hack into computers to steal information, the preparations for hacking could also be made prosecutable, newspaper De Telegraaf reported on Tuesday.

A ministry spokesman also said anyone who sends undesired amount of email (spam) in a bid to disrupt computer systems or to bring them to a standstill — a so-called denial-of-service attack — could face criminal prosecution. The same applies to people who spread computer viruses over the internet, he said.

But Minister Donner said he does not intend to make all spam illegal and advertisements sent via email will not face prosecution, despite requests from the Lower House of Parliament, the Tweede Kamer, last year.

He said the existing telecoms law gave adequate powers to industry supervisor Opta to take action against email advertisements by the imposition of fines, news agency Novum reported.

Meanwhile, Donner also intends to broaden the powers of prosecutors so in future they will be able to force internet providers to supply them with personal details of subscribers. Suspects may also be remanded and authorities will be allowed to tap telephones and seize equipment.

The tougher regulations are a consequence of the Cyber Crime Treaty signed by a large number of nations, including the Netherlands, in 2001 to crackdown against international computer crime.

The new measures are designed to ensure the Netherlands meets the requirements of the new treaty.

A ministry spokesman said prosecutors, judges and lawyers will have a chance to comment on the proposal, after which it will be presented to the Cabinet. It is hoped that the legislative proposal can be lodged in Parliament before the start of summer.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news