U.K. Considers Life Sentences for Hackers


The U.K.'s Serious Crime Bill, recently proposed in the Queen's speech, provides for life sentences for hackers who launch "cyber attacks which result in loss of life, serious illness or injury or serious damage to national security, or a significant risk thereof" (h/t Sophos).

The bill would also increase the sentence for cyber attacks "causing, or creating a significant risk of, severe economic or environmental damage or social disruption" from 10 years to 14 years.

"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," Minister for Organized Crime Karen Bradley said. "This Bill would ensure that in the event of such a serious attack those responsible would face the justice they deserve."

Still, Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, told the Guardian that the bill is unnecessary, since established laws already cover such acts. "If a supposed cyberterrorist endangers life or property, there are existing laws that can be used to prosecute them," he said.