MPs back Computer Weekly campaign

MPs from all parties this week voiced their support for Computer Weekly's campaign to update the UK's cybercrime laws.

MPs from all parties this week voiced their support for Computer Weekly's campaign to update the UK's cybercrime laws.

The campaign, launched last week, aims to co-ordinate industry pressure to modernise the UK's computer crime laws, which were drafted before the widespread use of the Internet. A prime example of the problem is denial of service attacks, which are not illegal under UK law but can severely damage businesses.

Nigel Evans, Tory shadow cabinet member and MP for Ribble Valley, said, "We certainly do need to look at the legislation and see if changes are needed. Things can be done with computers which were not dreamt of when the Computer Misuse Act was drafted.

"We need to look at the position and what has been done in other countries and then legislate as appropriate. Computers are now too important to our daily lives and to business. People can deliberately disable other people's systems by bombarding them with messages and this needs to be tackled.

"It could damage Britain as a place to do business - especially e-business. I congratulate Computer Weekly on highlighting this problem."

Greg Pope, former whip to the Department of Trade & Industry and Labour MP for Hyndburn, said, "This is a serious problem. The UK is a major business centre and a leader in e-commerce. We cannot afford to let a loophole in the law damage that position.

"The Government must take this seriously. Well done Computer Weekly for raising this issue.''

The campaign was also backed by Liberal Democrat IT spokesman Richard Allan, who has a masters degree in IT and worked in healthcare computing before becoming MP for Sheffield Hallam. He said, "I think denial of service attacks are becoming a big problem, as the recent problems at 10 Downing Street have shown. Someone sent round an SMS message on mobile phones telling them to ring Number 10 and clogged it up.

"There clearly is a problem affecting computers and other means of mass communication and we need to tackle it. We all want mass communication, but it can be abused.

"I am very pleased Computer Weekly has raised this issue. If we want workable solutions, they will come from the industry, not Home Office officials, who we know from past experience have come up with solutions that do not work.

"Raising the issue in the industry press is a good way to get those workable solutions They must have industry confidence. And Britain cannot afford to allow is commerce to suffer from these [denial of service] attacks.''

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