China issues legal interpretation to fight hacking

Updated: 2011-08-29 22:31


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BEIJING - China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) and Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) on Monday jointly issued a legal interpretation that aims to fight hacking and other Internet crimes more aggressively.

According to a statement released jointly by the SPC and SPP, a crime endangering information network security poses a threat not only to network security but also to national security and public interests.

The legal interpretation on handling cases involving activities that endanger information network security is aimed at cracking down on such crimes with greater force, according to the statement.

The interpretation has defined relevant terms, and clarified criteria for imposing penalties in cases regarding illegally obtaining computer network data or providing hacking tools or programs, among others.

One prominent provision is that those who knowingly purchase, sell or cover-up illegally obtained data or network control will be subject to criminal penalties.

The statement says that such activities have become increasingly unrestrained, even giving rise to large online transaction platforms. Penalizing these violations helps sever the profit chain of hacking and other related crimes.

The legal interpretation will come into effect on September 1.

China is one of the countries most affected by hacking and cyber crimes, according to the statement.

More than 1 million IP addresses in China were controlled from overseas in 2009, 42,000 websites were distorted by hackers, and 18 million Chinese computers have been infected by the Conficker virus every month, or about 30 percent of computers infected globally, the statement says, citing previous research.

Statistics from the Ministry of Public Security show that the number of viruses circulating on the internet has surged 80 percent year-on-year in the past five years. The ministry also estimates that eight out of ten internet-connected computers are controlled by hackers.