Anti-hacker reform facing delay

An update to the Computer Misuse Act will have to wait until after the next general election.

An update to the Computer Misuse Act will have to wait until after the next general election.

No MPs have come forward to back a private members bill this month to reform the act before the election, despite promises of government backing.

The All-Party Internet Group, a cross-party group of MPs, said the government had given assurances it would back tougher laws against hackers and virus writers in the next parliamentary term.

Brian White, Labour MP for Milton Keynes and a member of All Party Internet Group, said, "The government has given a commitment. It will happen. It needs to happen. I am absolutely convinced it will happen in the next session."

A report by the group last year, which followed a Computer Weekly campaign for the reform of computer crime law, called for longer jail sentences for computer criminals, greater police powers to seize computer equipment and clarification of the law on denial of service attacks.

"One of the key changes we are proposing is to allow extradition," said White. "At the moment the sentencing tariff is six months, which makes hacking not extraditable. Making the tariff two years makes it an extraditable offence."

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