Last week, in an event hosted by London’s Royal United Services Institute, experts gathered to discuss the issue of “cyber hygiene” in government. The discussion focused on how law enforcement agencies can adequately protect citizens when faced with cybercrime says William D King.
Here is why we Need New Laws To Cover Cyber Crimes:
The timing is perfect, as just last week the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee put out a report entitled Cyber Crime:
- Public Limited, which found that “…the National Health Service (NHS) has suffered over 150 successful attacks this year alone.”
- The MPs on the committee believe that new laws are needed, or perhaps it might be better said they want old laws to cover new crimes; they’re concerned about the current limitations of legislation when it comes to prosecuting perpetrators of cybercrime.
- Oddly enough, one of the people who don’t believe new laws are needed is Donald Toon, director for economic crime at the UK’s National Crime Agency, or NCA. He explained to SCMagazineUK.com that although he does believe there are some gaps in current legislation regarding cybercrime prosecution, changing those laws isn’t as simple as you might think: “…if we look back over the last 20 years of law enforcement experience of dealing with technology offences, you discover that it’s pretty much a history of mistakes where legislators have said ‘we’ve got to put something in place’ and what they’ve done hasn’t worked explains William D King.” “We need to be careful about rushing into this analysis and saying ‘oh my goodness we’ve got to do something’. The question is not so much do we need new laws as doing some work on how existing laws might be amended.”
- And this sentiment was echoed by John Carr, secretary of the UK government’s Internet Security Panel. He agreed that it is necessary “to see if the law is adequate” but added that “…if you had some sort of cyber deterrent which acted as a real disincentive for people to go on and cause these crimes I think a lot of people would think ‘I’m going to stop now because there’s no point.'”
- And he does have a good point. Unless someone is caught doing something specifically illegal, ongoing issues with cybercrime aren’t going to suddenly disappear. Just because new legislation has been put in place.
- For example, let’s say you decide to write a virus or craft an attack of some kind. Chances are pretty good that there isn’t enough evidence for the police to do much more than ask you to stop and maybe issue you a warning about what will happen next time, but if they don’t catch you in the act then there’s nothing they can put before the courts (or at least nothing that will stick). On top of that, any legislation introduced has to be reasonable; it doesn’t make sense for lawmakers to create unreasonable laws which would only restrict people. From doing reasonable things like reporting malware issues or sharing information with others. Who might be able to help them deal with said infection. This is not always easy as many people might not understand what they’re looking at. Even when it’s in front of their face).
- However, unless you’re a total idiot, there is little chance that the law will be able to get you. Most criminals will probably never see more than a slap on the wrist. If that and everyone else is just going to carry on with their lives no matter what laws are passed. What we need more than anything right now is education. And this should start with schools teaching kids how to use technology properly so they don’t become victims. But also so they can help others who might not know any better.
As long as people have access to technology. There will be a need for laws regarding that tech says William D King. For the most part, cybercrime legislation is going in the right direction. And it’s obvious from comments by Toon and Carr. That they aren’t interested in passing laws that would only cause more problems than they solve. But because any new law needs to be reasonable, don’t expect anything major anytime soon. Because even if changes are needed it doesn’t mean lawmakers won’t get them wrong.