Creating and/or distributing viruses is now illegal in Japan. If you find yourself getting smacked by the wrong-end of the law for doing either, you could find yourself on the hook for $6,200.00 and up to three years in prison.

The move has been made by Japan to align the country with the Convention on Cybercrime, which aims to make hacking and child pornography, amongst other things, illegal.

Obvious questions include: What constitutes a virus? And more importantly, where is the line drawn between hacking and security? Does pulling apart a DVD player constitute hacking it? What about jailbreaking your iPhone?

Currently the Convention on Cybercrime treaty points out that hacking is defined as illegal access, illegal interception of information, data interference, and here’s the big one, misuse of devices. Misuse of devices as defined within the document could easily be extended to any application or device that enables a user to commit any of the previously mentioned illegalities:

[quote] Article 6: Misuse of devices

1    Each Party shall adopt such legislative and other measures as may be necessary to establish as criminal offences under its domestic law, when committed intentionally and without right:
a     the production, sale, procurement for use, import, distribution or otherwise making available of:
i    a device, including a computer program, designed or adapted primarily for the purpose of committing any of the offences established in accordance with Articles 2 through 5;
ii    a computer password, access code, or similar data by which the whole or any part of a computer system is capable of being accessed,
with intent that it be used for the purpose of committing any of the offences established in Articles 2 through 5; and
b     the possession of an item referred to in paragraphs a.i or ii above, with intent that it be used for the purpose of committing any of the offences established in Articles 2 through 5. A Party may require by law that a number of such items be possessed before criminal liability attaches.
2    This article shall not be interpreted as imposing criminal liability where the production, sale, procurement for use, import, distribution or otherwise making available or possession referred to in paragraph 1 of this article is not for the purpose of committing an offence established in accordance with Articles 2 through 5 of this Convention, such as for the authorised testing or protection of a computer system.
3    Each Party may reserve the right not to apply paragraph 1 of this article, provided that the reservation does not concern the sale, distribution or otherwise making available of the items referred to in paragraph 1 a.ii of this article.[/quote]

The list of signatures may surprise you. Most major, westernized countries have signed the treaty already, including, but not limited to, Canada, the United States of America, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and a whole huge list of others.

Article Via Engadget

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