Cybercrime can take a lot of different forms, from buying or selling illicit items online, to pirating music and videos, to child pornography violations. In today's modern age, every country has its own set of laws that govern the use of computers and the Internet, and now the United Kingdom has stiffened their cybercrime laws.
Amendments to UK's Computer Misuse Act
Earlier this month, British lawmakers amended the the Computer Misuse Act of 1990. The original law was created after a hacker illegally accessed the private emails of Prince Phillip. According to UK officials, the law needed to be updated and modernized.
As per the new legislation, individuals who knowingly break the law could be punished with a lifetime prison sentence. Lifetime prison sentences can be issued to computer hackers who are aware that their illegal actions could result in serious damage to national security or human welfare, or if the hacker was reckless about whether this kind of harm would be caused by his or her actions. Still, the law fails to clearly define what national security and serious damage actually mean.
The amendments also make it illegal for would-be hackers to obtain digital malware tools that can be used to commit cybercrime. Furthermore, the amendments allow British courts to prosecute UK citizens who commit computer crimes while they are located offshore.
According to British lawmakers, it was necessary to update the act to bring legislation up to speed, both to deter would-be offenders and appropriately punish people who are committing nefarious acts. UK officials stated that the amendment will provide law enforcement officials with the power they need to prevent cybercrime.
England Is Not the Only Nation to Update Cybercrime Laws
Nigeria has also updated its cybercrime laws by passing a new law that governs attacks on national infrastructure. If a cyber criminal's actions lead to a death, the cybercriminal could face death by hanging. One of the most typical cybercrimes in Nigeria includes the dissemination of false information that threatens national security and could incite public unrest against the government.
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