‘Legal’ Hacking Bill Could Get US Copyright Holders Arrested In Australia

A bill that was recently brought before the US Congress has already met considerable public backlash, but also has a hidden trap: Australian experts say that it could potentially get US copyright holders in trouble under Australian law. The bill, introduced by Congressman Howard Berman, seeks to make it legal for copyright holders to use otherwise illegal ihackingi techniques to disable peer-to-peer networks. If this bill were to pass, copyright holders would be immune from prosecution under existing criminal charges as long as the activity is done to prevent piracy of their works.

A story at the Web site of Australian newspaper The Age goes into detail:

Computer, Internet and intellectual property lawyer Steve White says the Berman bill is "stupid and counterproductive", and he believes it will lead to an online arms race as PC owners and the networks seek to thwart the efforts of copyright holders.

He says US executives may be unable to enter the country to give evidence in court cases, attend conferences, speak to government, customers or possibly to make movies because afflicted PC owners could seek to have them arrested for unauthorised computer trespass.

[...]

Whiteis view is backed by Dean Kingsley, co-author of the AusCERT hacking survey and head of Deloitteis security practice who says the bill is "state-sanctioned vigilantism". "What appears to be proposed is the computer equivalent of breaking into someoneis house who you think has stolen some of your possessions to get them back with legal impunity, even if it turns out you broke into the wrong house," Kingsley says.

You can read the entire article at The Ageis Web site.

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