RE: Cybercrime treaty
OK, now that I have some real text to look at, let's examine some scenarios
> It appears that the draft text can be found at
> http://www.politechbot.com/docs/treaty.html . The text in Article 6
> prohibits "a device, including a computer program, designed or adapted
> [specifically] [primarily] [particularly] for the purpose of
> committing any of the offences established in accordance with Article
> 2," which defines illegal access.
I would expect this to be treated similarly to pornography in that the
question would be one of some 'redeeming social value'. The _purpose_ of
the application would be the question. I agree with Adam that this is overly
vague, and open to interpretation. It could also end up being treated in
much the same manner as locksmith tools - in the hands of a convicted
robber, they would constitute possession of bulglary tools, but in the hands
of a licensed and bonded locksmith, it isn't a crime. Which raises the
point that we may end up becoming licensed at some point in the future -
we're the computer equivalent of a locksmith.
I would also expect this article would not apply to any tool designed such
that it can only identify vulnerable systems, and cannot actually obtain
illegal access on its own. As we all know, there are a number of situations
where you have to obtain access to reliably determine whether it can be
Given prior precedent in many other areas, I don't expect that something
like this would be constitutional in the US - for example, it is quite OK
for me to buy Anarchist's cookbook, and have the recipe to make bombs or
drugs, but quite illegal for me to actually make these items.
This of course only loosely applies to code, since it could be that having
the code isn't illegal, but having the binaries are illegal.
IMHO, even though I really detest seeing code whose main purpose in life is
to enable script kiddies to commit felonies, the safest thing to do all
around is to not worry about the programs, but how people use them - e.g.,
having a crowbar isn't bad, but smashing your door in with it is bad.
The whole thing is a real mess - one can expect civil liberties to come
under pressure when people start getting worried.