Creating viruses now a crime in Japan

The legislation was accepted and passed by the House of Councillors with a staggering majority, and concludes the Convention on Cybercrime

Tags: Cyber crime
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Creating viruses now a crime in Japan A new legislation makes the creation or distribution of viruses a criminal act in Japan
By  Clayton Vallabhan Published  June 20, 2011

Japan's Parliament has enacted a legislation on Friday that criminalises the creation and distribution of computer viruses. The move comes in an effort to curb the ever increasing problem of cybercrime. Critics however say that the bill could infringe the constitutionally guaranteed privacy of communication.

The legislation was accepted and passed by the House of Councillors with a staggering majority, and concludes the Convention on Cybercrime, which is a treaty that assures international cooperation when investigating crimes in cyberspace.

The Japanese authorities have had a lot of trouble pursuing cyber attacks on corporations, government offices and individuals due to the lack of a law that could specifically punish virus creation and other malicious acts of cyber crime.

The new legislation will make the creation or distribution of a computer virus, without a reasonable cause, a crime punishable by three years in prison or a fine of 500,000 Japanese Yen ($6,242). The acquisition or storage of any computer virus is also punishable by up to two years in prison or 300,000 Japanese Yen ($3,745) in fines. The law also makes it punishable to send pornographic images by e-mail to random people.

The new law now makes it legal for authorities to seize or copy data from computer servers that are connected to online networks, for the purpose of investigation. Law enforcement authorities are also given the authority to request that Internet service providers retain communication logs of e-mails, names of senders and recipients and other such privileged information for up to 60 days.

Concerns from the upper house's Judicial Affairs Committee regarding a violation of the privacy of communications that is guaranteed by the constitution, has made them attach a legislation that asks authorities to use the law appropriately.

The Convention on Cybercrime was adopted by the Council of Europe in November 2001, and took effect in 2004. There are 31 countries that have pledged their allegiance so far, making it a criminal act to have unauthorised access to computer systems, the storage of child pornography and infringement of copyright amongst other terms.

2768 days ago
Vinod Mehra

Right move by the Japanese government. This should provide impetus to other governments to collaborate and pass such laws. The only fear is, it should not limit genuine transactions.

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