The British government has announced its legislative agenda for the year ahead including a specific measure – introduced recently in the Queen’s Speech – uncovering plans for punishment of “life imprisonment” for “computer hackers who threaten British national security“, according to an article published on the UK’s Telegraph website. Cyber criminals who put human life at risk by “attacking food, energy and police computer networks” and obviously acts that trigger “deadly civil unrest by cutting off food distribution, telephone networks or energy supplies” will surely be looking at “life in prison“, according to the report.
The article indicates that the “Computer Misuse Act” includes an existing offense – noted as “impairing a computer” – which will be amended to note “unauthorized access to a computer.” The existing offense, according to the article, “carries a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment.” Under further review, this offense was found not to “reflect the potential damage to the economy and the risk to human life posed by a devastating attack by internet terrorists, or a lone hacker working from their bedroom” – considering the current gravity of attacks in today’s world, as the article indicates.
Regarding the new “Serious Crime Bill“, Karen Bradley, Minister for Organized Crime was quoted in the article to say, “Our reliance on computer systems and the degree to which they are interlinked is ever increasing and a major cyber attack on our critical infrastructure would have grave consequences. This Bill would ensure that in the event of such a serious attack those responsible would face the justice they deserve.” This change put forth by the British government now aligns that nation with the United States which, according to the article, introduced “life sentences for malicious computer hackers in the wake of September 11.”