Bill will strenghen Computer Misuse Act

Derek Wyatt MP, chairman of the all party internet group, is to raise a 10-minute rule bill in the Commons next month calling for...

Derek Wyatt MP, chairman of the all party internet group, is to raise a 10-minute rule bill in the Commons next month calling for the Computer Misuse Act to be strengthened.

The move follows a campaign by Computer Weekly, businesses and IT security professionals to strengthen sentencing for offenders and tighten the act's provisions against denial of service attacks.

Wyatt is putting the bill forward in an attempt to keep reform of the Computer Misuse Act on the political agenda in the run-up to the election.

The Home Office indicated last year that it would support a private member's bill to update the act following a report by the All Party Internet Group.

However the plans foundered when no MPs came forward to sponsor the bill.

"It seemed sensible, given the work we undertook last year, to place on record what we think the bill should look like in the hope that the government will come back to it after the general election," said Wyatt.

The draft bill will strengthen police powers by making simple hacking offences an extraditable offence, with a maximum jail sentence of two years.

Police would also have greater powers to search and seize computer equipment.

Richard Allan MP, Liberal Democrat spokesman for IT, said, "This bill will strengthen the arm of law enforcement agencies to deal with those who maliciously attack networks through denial of service attacks.

"This reform is necessary if we are to treat these attacks with the seriousness which they deserve."

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