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IT leaders say UK laws do not deter hackers

Seventy seven per cent of IT chiefs said the UK's computer crime laws are not very effective at deterring hackers and virus...

Seventy seven per cent of IT chiefs said the UK's computer crime laws are not very effective at deterring hackers and virus writers in a recent poll.

Not one of the 366 respondents felt existing laws were "very effective" while just 23% felt they were "quite effective", in the survey, carried out at May's IT directors Forum by event organiser Richmond Events.

The figures add weight to Computer Weekly's Lock Down the Law campaign to improve the quality of the UK's computer crime laws, such as the Computer Misuse Act, which was drafted before the widespread use of the internet by businesses.

"I am not surprised by these figures," said David Roberts, chief executive of the Corporate IT Forum, Tif. "UK laws are not going to deter hackers because getting caught is quite difficult - but it is not just because of the laws."

Roberts pointed to the logistical difficulties involved in obtaining a conviction for an electronic crime and called for more resources to be awarded to organisations such as the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit.

A spokesman for the NHCTU said, "The Computer Misuse Act is currently being reviewed by the Home Office. That review takes into account concerns such as those reflected in the survey."

However, this is likely to be small comfort for UK businesses, given the recent statement by the NHTCU's crime reduction co-ordinator John Lyons that the number of high-tech crimes is doubling every 18 months.

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