Congratulations, script kiddies and curious hackers are now classified in the same groups as IRA bombers and terrorists. Under the Terrorism Act 2000, which went into effect Monday, people who manipulate public computer systems can be punished under the very same anti-terrorism law as would a Hezbollah guerilla.

Any person who "seriously interferes with, or seriously disrupts an electronic system will be dealt with under the anti-terrorism law", according to some bloke from the Home Office. The spokesman, who talked with an IDG news source, the Terrorism Act:

extends the definition of what is legally a terrorist and now includes, along with violent foreign groups such as the Irish Republican Army (IRA) or Hezbollah, any U.K.-based group planning an attack outside of the U.K. or any group threatening or planning "serious violence" within the U.K.

Hack a web site or kill a mail server, hang out with gents who bombed folks in a comfortable prison. All expenses paid, of course. What if someone conducted a denial-of-service attack on a government web server? The death penalty? Why not treat the black-hat hackers, crackers and script kiddies as normal cyber-criminals, and give them appropriate sentencing. Put their skills to use instead of lumping them in with killers.

/rant done. Thanks to IDG for the facts and quotes.

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