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March 04, 2003

God Bless America

And I mean that. Americans are often surprised at the kinds of speech that are pretty regularly regulated or banned in Europe.

And now cyberactivism, such as the virtual march on Washington last week where the WHite House was barraged with email, will now be illegal in the European Union. See here:

The 15 European ministers signed Friday a so-called framework decision on cybercrime that makes no legal distinction between an online protester and the spammers or cyberterrorists the decision is designed to trap, according to legal practitioners and academics.

The decision forces all 15 Union countries to adopt a new criminal offense - illegal access to, and illegal interference with an information system - and calls on national courts to impose jail terms of at least two years in serious cases.

In its introduction, the decision makes reference to an adopted Council of Europe charter on cybercrime, which defines as criminal activity the sending of unsolicited e-mails designed to hinder the computer system of the recipient of the messages.

"This code appears to catch overt protesters as well as covert criminals," said Leon de Costa, chief of Judicium, a London-based legal consultancy. He added that "it criminalizes behavior which until now has been seen as lawful civil disobedience."

Posted by Nathan at March 4, 2003 08:12 AM

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