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Queen's Speech: Computer Misuse Act to be amended, tougher sentences planned

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Fiddling with fiddlers while London turns (into an exclusive haven for the robber barons)

And I guess the British Museum had better check out its ancient Greek library pretty fast.

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I sense ambiguously worded laws on the way!

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Ambiguously worded laws with strict liability to be sure....

The government loves to find ways to make people criminals, even if they are doing nothing to harm anyone...

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Childcatcher

Yet Another TOTC law. I sense the hand of Ms Perry

Yet again.

I feel a short public information film coming on

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Pro or con?

> sentences for attacks on computer systems fully reflect the damage they cause

How about requiring some of the responsibility for insecure and badly designed systems to fall on the heads of the people who design or (mis)manage them? One of the properties of being a "professional" person is taking responsibility for the quality of your work (on the basis that it is specialised and therefore beyond the grasp of "ordinary folk" to understand or critique) and that you have a duty of care towards those who place their trust in your services.

Maybe if people who's designs were so flawed - or who cut out every failsafe, oversight, procedural check or protection mechanism for reasons of cost or stupidity - that they amounted to criminal negligence were held to account there would be at least a start to getting some half-decent, secure software. What we have at the moment is like blaming the woodworms when your house falls down.

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Re: Pro or con?

I agree with you. However, many computer hackers/script kiddies/metasploit users want to make money for themselves and don't pay tax.

Incompetent coders, careless sys admins and sloppily run IT companies usually (tax loop holes aside) pay tax.

The old maxim... "don't bite the hand that feeds you".

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Big Brother

Re: Pro or con?

> sentences for attacks on computer systems fully reflect the damage they cause

Oh great - damage or 'damage'? - never mind, rhetorical question.

So someone walks past a defective defence and the owners poop themselves, call in consultants, wipe servers, damage databases, and otherwise slapstick fall over their own feet in panic and *those* will be the 'damages' that the 'hacker' pays for then.

Your crime is exposing incompetance. Your sentence will be proportional to the magnitude of the incompetance exposed.

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Re: Pro or con?

Let's hope they don't take the word of the "victim" for the cost...

The cost of the damage should purely be the loss of business if a system is taken offline by the attack (NOT afterwards when they patch the flaw in a panic) and the real damage to systems or data.

NOT the price or inconvenience of fixing the flaw which they shouldn't have left in the first place, nor the damage their reputation suffers from being made to look stupid for hosting their services on windows 98.

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Re: Pro or con?

I do agree with the above posters, that perhaps there should be some penalties for bad security, but it's worth noting that if someone physically breaks into a house, the homeowner is not penalised by the law for leaving the door unlocked, although their insurance firm is likely to be less happy.

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Facepalm

Re: Pro or con?

and don't pay tax

That's a new one.

Paying taxes is positively correlated with product quality,

I guess in a Picketty world, we would be blinded by the light coming out of the floppy disk slots.

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Facepalm

Shark Jumped!

Who gets to decide the value of the damage supposedly done to a 'computer system'?

WTF are 'paedophilic manuals'?

This lot won't just have loopholes, there will be voids the size of the grand canyon!

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Re: Shark Jumped!

'WTF are 'paedophilic manuals'?'

I don't know, but I'd suggest you don't Google* that...

*other search engines are available

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Re: Shark Jumped!

WTF are 'paedophilic manuals'?

They're the things that used to be called family photo albums.

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Re: Shark Jumped!

'Paedophilic Manuals' - Copies of the Sun and the Daily Heil's 'Sidebar of Shame' with their 'look who's now legal' stories? Copies of 'Lolita'? The film 'Leon'? Any history text that covers the last 500 years? (hint: how old were the wives of Henery VIII?) Wikipedia?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shark Jumped!

Anything the government and police don't want you to have I would assume - as I suspect they don't really exist, but you can't find out without the risk of accidental coming into possession of one (or the suspicion of possession)

Though I assume the normal one, used by most paedophiles goes like this

"Find partner"

"Produce child"

"abuse child"

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Re: Shark Jumped!

The BBC have used the wording "written paedophilia".

So better burn those copies of Lolita now. Surely written paedophilia (assuming it is entirely fictional) is the very definition of a victimless crime, however distasteful it may be. In any case, the Head of the British Library can look forward to a lengthy stretch inside unless they burn a sizeable chunk of their Victorian literature.

Seems like just the sort of laws the Police love - it can mean pretty much whatever they want it to mean, giving grounds for arrest and thus grounds to search for "other evidence". In other words, a charter to go fishing.

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Re: Shark Jumped!

"They're the things that used to be called family photo albums"

Department store catalogues?

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Re: Shark Jumped!

>> WTF are 'paedophilic manuals'?

> They're the things that used to be called family photo albums.

I dunno, I was assuming that possession of paedophilic manuals was going to be something along the lines of The Hands of Orlac but where Vasseur is a charlie chester. Seems a bit harsh to do porridge for it though.

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Re: Shark Jumped!

Seems to be actually mean child grooming for dummies

I'm not sure that banning them is right as it's verging on legislating "thought crimes", although I can see the reasoning for it. There's certainly a case for having some of that information to safeguard children ("Spotting child grooming for dummies?").

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Re: Shark Jumped!

"WTF are 'paedophilic manuals'?"

Books or magazines that tell you how to get better photos of children?

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Re: WTF are 'paedophilic manuals'?

I've no idea. It seems a little silly to me to have a law to cover a specific case of a manual that details how to commit a very specific crime.

Why no legislation on burglary manuals? Or Murder manuals? Armed robbery manuals? (Maybe it's the programmer in me, but why not create an abstract law regarding the dissemination of criminal techniques in manuals and then have a concrete implementation for each crime?)

Is this law really going to accomplish anything? I'm no criminal mastermind, but I don't think that criminals go on to the internet, download a "paedophilic manual" and then start practising.

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Re: Shark Jumped!

I have the recipe for Haribo sweets, a magazine for puppy owners, and a Haynes book for my white van. Would this constitute a paedo manual?

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Re: Shark Jumped!

Books of photographs by Lewis Carroll (which I saw openly for sale in a Fleet Street bookshop in the 80's)

The diaries of a notorious criminal who sold 9 year old girls as sex slaves while committing genocide as a side line. And perhaps they could also imprison anyone who celebrates him on Columbus Day?

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@Will Godfrey Re: Shark Jumped!

"WTF are 'paedophilic manuals'?"

Do you keep getting older while they stay the same age?

Is you significant other's niece/nephew sparking something in you?

Has your head started turning while walking past schools during playtime?

Well look no further! This book has everything you need to know!

- written by experts for you!

- real-life examples!

- common mistakes which nobble novice nonces!

Includes the following topics:

Midget or child? - Learn the important differences by using a simple checklist!

Age-of-consent maps! Who knows? it might be legal somewhere!

Style advice - ditch the anorak, smarten up, and don't be a stereotype!

Includes foreword from Dr. P. D. O'Bear.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shark Jumped!

When you word the law as loosely as parliament does, the one thing that is a virtual certainty is that the first prosecution for a "paedophilic manual" will have not the slightest connection with kiddy fiddling.

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Re: WTF are 'paedophilic manuals'?

Why no legislation on burglary manuals? Or Murder manuals? Armed robbery manuals? (Maybe it's the programmer in me, but why not create an abstract law regarding the dissemination of criminal techniques in manuals and then have a concrete implementation for each crime?)

Because that would be sensible and would not pander to the idiots / daily mail readers / voters (delete as applicable). A sane lawyer, yes, I couldn't believe one still existed, recently stated that having more and more specific laws was a bad thing. Unless you are a lawyer. And guess what's the background of a lot of the top MPs...

There were also some statistics about the number of new laws introduced recently compared to historically. The rise is phenomenal, and it's not because there are a great many new or novel crimes being committed. Creating new laws is very different to enforcing them.

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Re: WTF are 'paedophilic manuals'?

Didn't Mohammed shack up with an 8-year-old in the Quran? This ought to be interesting. 'Spect there's something comparable in many religious texts.

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Re: Murder manuals

That's most novels these days it seems. Unless they come from the Mills & Boon tradition.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WTF are 'paedophilic manuals'?

The problem with this is mission creep. No one will defend that it is a good thing to have such documents, but criminalising the possession rather than production or distribution, seems to me to be the lazy option that does not criminalise the right people. Just because it is easier to "catch" people possessing it, doesn't absolve the state from the responsibility to hunt down the abusers.

As others have said above, the wide ranging and vague wording makes it fodder for a fishing expedition when the state wants to "get" someone, and they cannot find any other actual crime has been committed. We saw the anti terrorism laws, which in response to worries about the vague wording were promised to only be applied in really serious cases. Try explaining to the police that the home secretary said it would not be used for trivial cases and see how far you get. Strangely, the home secretary's vague assurances don't count in court, the wording of the law does.

When they first criminalised possession of child pornography, (and I shouldn't need to say so, because any sane person would know that it is hideous stuff and those that produce it should be dealt with, but if I don't say it, people will assume I am for it, which I am not) I was uneasy because I suspected that having established the principle, it would be extended over time to include possession of other things that were not approved of. Then of course we got the possession of terror manuals, now this. Where next I wonder?

Imagine if someone began issuing a manual of how to kill people, should possesion of that be banned? What about a story told in the first person about killing someone? A story containing a rape? A story where the lead character says something offensive or expresses a view about terrorism/paedophilic manuals that appears to support or "glorify" either?

It is all quite worrying, and I wish people would wake up and pay attention to what is happening to our laws.

They have established the principle, the arguments now are sadly all about where the arbitrary line is drawn, and of course the vague wording means it can be drawn wherever the state wishes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shark Jumped!

"Any history text that covers the last 500 years? (hint: how old were the wives of Henery VIII?) Wikipedia?"

When they married him they were: 24, 32, 28, 25,19, 31.

What is your point??

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Coat

Re: 'paedophilic manuals'

Well, I shall certainly be keeping a close eye on all my manuals, and any that show paedophilic tendencies will be severely disciplined.

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Unhappy

Re: WTF are 'paedophilic manuals'?

"Imagine if someone began issuing a manual of how to kill people, should possesion of that be banned? What about a story told in the first person about killing someone? A story containing a rape? A story where the lead character says something offensive or expresses a view about terrorism/paedophilic manuals that appears to support or "glorify" either?"

Why imagine?

At least one has been published (in the USA of course).

1st amendment rights. Not just for the causes you love, but also the causes you hate.

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Re: WTF are 'paedophilic manuals'?

"I've no idea. It seems a little silly to me to have a law to cover a specific case of a manual that details how to commit a very specific crime.

Why no legislation on burglary manuals? Or Murder manuals? Armed robbery manuals? (Maybe it's the programmer in me, but why not create an abstract law regarding the dissemination of criminal techniques in manuals and then have a concrete implementation for each crime?)"

I assume it's brought to us by the same ridiculous thought process that created the law banning 'terrorist manuals'.

You can legally own any number of books and scientific papers discussing the manufacture and use of bombs. Unless the police need a reason to give you trouble and you're of middle-eastern / Irish descent, then your books magically transmogrify into 'terrorist manuals'.

Sometimes it's even just a matter of marketing;

C.I.A.'s Improvised Munitions - perfectly fine.

Mujahideen's Handbook - expect to spend the next 10 years behind bars.

(FYI, I own none of the above. I'm not keen on being woken abruptly at 3am by stormtroopers.)

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Flame

Re: @Will Godfrey Shark Jumped!

"Includes foreword from Dr. P. D. O'Bear."

That sounds like one of those dirty perverted paediatricians!!! Burn his house down!!! And the house next door, just in case!!!!

<hint: it's a joke with overtones of sarcasm and irony>

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Re: WTF are 'paedophilic manuals'?

"but criminalising the possession rather than production or distribution"

Too late. "They" have already defined the display of an image on a computer screen as "making" not simple possession.

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Childcatcher

Re: WTF are 'paedophilic manuals'?

"Paedophilic manuals" are just a desperate attempt by the Tories to appeal to the Daily Heil reading public who have defected to UKIP...

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Re: Shark Jumped!

I'm sure there are incident reports in the Vatican which would qualify as written paedophilia.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WTF are 'paedophilic manuals'?

He married Aisha when she was 6, and the marriage was consummated when she was 9. He was 53.

How he could be a role model is beyond me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WTF are 'paedophilic manuals'?

You'd have to then include some of the writings of Ayatollah Khomeini; based on Aisha, his rulings got pretty explicit in detailing exactly what you're allowed to get up to in the sack with a six year old.

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Unhappy

Re: WTF are 'paedophilic manuals'?

""Paedophilic manuals" are just a desperate attempt by the Tories to appeal to the Daily Heil reading public who have defected to UKIP..."

Probably.

The most likely kind of "grooming" going on here is grooming voters to vote for them.

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Re: Shark Jumped!

How about Romeo and Juliette then?

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Re: WTF are 'paedophilic manuals'?

Why no legislation on burglary manuals?

...

Because that would be sensible

No it would not, it would be equally poorly thought out. Unless you want the Police to go on fishing expeditions after locksmiths, alarm system maintenance engineers, security researchers, etc. etc.

If you make it illegal to possess information that 'bad guys' can use, the only thing you achieve is making that information exclusive to 'bad guys'. After all, if you're going to commit a crime, you're not going to care. What it does mean is that everyone else knows nothing about the methods and mechanisms used by said 'bad guys', so cannot adequately defend themselves against them.

For example, if it becomes illegal to publish information on flaws in certain types of commonly used locks, Joe Public will not know that these are flawed, and know not to use them.

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Re: Shark Jumped!

"Any history text that covers the last 500 years? (hint: how old were the wives of Henery VIII?) Wikipedia?"

When they married him they were: 24, 32, 28, 25,19, 31.

What is your point??

The operative word there are 'when they married him'.

Catherine of Aragon, for example, was betrothed to Henry's brother Arthur at the age of three, and married at fifteen. Henry VII may not have been the best choice for this example, but you don't have to spend long looking at English history to find that marriages to girls in their early teens was fairly common and considered 'normal'. By today's standards, this is far from acceptable, but this serves only as an illustration that attitudes, and moral norms, change over time, as they do across cultures. The fact that the rise of Christianity in the British Isles also led to a reduction in the rights of women, and the tendency to view them as property didn't help either.

That was my point.

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Greetings to the single systematic downvoter!

There is a distinct pattern here that most comments on this thread (the ones with the higher up-vote counts) also have a single down-vote.

Rather than just angry-clicking that down-vote button, why not make a reasoned and thought-out argument against the posts that you don't like? You never know, you might find that others also share your point of view, or even that, in formulating your response, this leads to you having to think about the issues and reformulate your own conclusions?

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Re: @Will Godfrey Shark Jumped!

Do you keep getting older while they stay the same age?

Don't remind me.

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Re: WTF are 'paedophilic manuals'?

This has some pretty good arguments why those laws never should have existed in the first place (and its not because CP is good):

http://falkvinge.net/2012/09/07/three-reasons-child-porn-must-be-re-legalized-in-the-coming-decade/

http://falkvinge.net/2012/09/11/child-porn-laws-arent-as-bad-as-you-think-theyre-much-much-worse/

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Anonymous Coward

Is it going to have penalties for "the authorities" using hacking techniques too then? No thought not.

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Anonymous Coward

Burn the bodice-rippers!

No doubt fictionalised accounts will be covered by this too, to avoid the accusation of it being a 'loophole' the evil pedophiles could exploit. Better go through your library, make sure you don't have any novels in which the protagonist seduces anyone underage. And no excuses even if set in a historical context, that's just another loophole! Yay for more thoughtcrime.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Burn the bodice-rippers!

Stop thinking that!

You are not allowed to think bad of the government and its laws, we have dispatched a collection team, please go willingly, you will not be harmed... you can trust us....

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