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Japan Plans to Criminalize Computer Virus Authoring

Everybody hates getting infected with a computer virus, but more often than not the authors and distributors of such malware usually walk off scott-free due to various loopholes in the legal system. However, it seems that the Japanese government is about to put a stop to that: the Japan Ministry of Justice intends to submit a bill to “criminalize the creation and distribution of viruses”.

If you are planning to pack your bags and move to Japan for an extended period of time for various reasons (such as work commitments or simply migrating over), it might be a good practice to start maintaining your operating system and ensuring that the installed antivirus is up-to-date with the latest virus definitions.

Of course, you may be scratching your head, wondering why one must take so many precautions with a PC just to enter Japan. This is because Japan is starting to adopt a no-nonsense stance against malware: the Japan Ministry of Justice is reportedly planning on submitting a bill to the Diet which “criminalize the creation and distribution of all computer viruses”.

This move was apparently made because Japanese law enforcement often found themselves powerless in attempting to bring malware authors to justice. According to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, the current legal system in Japan does not grant prosecutors the authority to directly charge such people for the damaged caused by their virus. As such, law enforcement agencies usually have to resort to various loopholes and workarounds in order to push charges against authors and distributors of such virus, which needlessly complicates the legal process.

The fact that the bill has also singled out “distributors” of computer viruses means that the normal user will be affected should it pass through the Diet. After all, the average users are generally unaware if their PCs have been hijacked as part of a botnet or not. And since these people are unknowing distributors of malware, it remains to be seen how the bill will address
such issues to ensure that users will not have to be wrongly accused by the law due to ignorance. But until then, the best way to safeguard oneself from being wrongfully charged by the law is to just simply be more mindful of computer security.

Source: Yomiuri Shinbun

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