Hacking, spreading computer viruses and other malicious code, organising â€˜denial of serviceâ€™ attacks on websites â€¦
The Information Society is a new world to explore. And with new worlds come new forms of crime.
Hacking, spreading computer viruses and other malicious code, organising ‘denial of service’ attacks on websites … these are new forms of crime, requiring an update of our legal frameworks to tackle.
Some of these crimes, moreover, may stem from organised crime or even terrorist organisations, and are also often international in nature. Gaps and differences in Member States’ laws in this area, however, have to date hampered the fight against these forms of crime.
Tackling these problems under the EU’s ‘third pillar’ (Justice and Home Affairs) is therefore necessary.
Status and Scope
Hence the European Commission’s 2002 proposal for a Council framework Decision on attacks against information systems.
The proposal covers illegal access to and interference with information systems, which includes electronic networks, computers and other devices connected to the networks (e.g., mobile phones), as well as the data and programmes that they carry.
The Framework Decision will therefore cover intentional hacking, distribution of viruses, denial of service attacks and website defacement, among other activities. It is also technology neutral, covering both hardware and software but not the content of the information itself, and seeks to strike the right balance by incriminating acts that are harmful to information systems, while excluding minor or trivial behaviour.