back to article US Senate polishes new teeth for cyber cops

The US Senate has passed a bill to strengthen the hands of federal prosecutors who fight computer crime by removing some of the more common hurdles in prosecuting online miscreants. One provision would eliminate a requirement that prosecutors prove illegal activity has caused at least $5,000 in damage before they can bring …

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Anonymous Coward

How do they name these things?

The title of the act is really "Former Vice President Protection Act.". This somehow made my brain think of AlGore and his being the originator of the internet.

Of course, it has nothing to do with that, but if they can prosecute spammers (and those who benefit!), I'm all for it!

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Unhappy

Satire?

Ah, the Al Gore "I invented the internet" myth reborn. There's not an election due is there ? (Although I have heard that Obama drinks TEA!).

Still the F.V.P.P. Act of 2008 isn't as much of a mouthfull as the U.S.A.P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act of 2001 - the greatest proof (still) of the victory of terrorism over rationality.

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Names

This passed the House just as a bill to extend Secret Service protection to former vice presidents, so the name is quite reasonable. The Senate tacked on all the cybercrime stuff as an amendment.

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Black Helicopters

I think this is called "Earmarking"

It's a pretty common practice over the pond, by the look of things: A Bill is proposed to do something nice, good and kind; in this case it is to provide Secret Service protection to former Vice Presidents (Former Presidents are already granted protection.

Anybody voting against such a caring sensitive proposal is obviously wrong: Al Gore SHOULD be protected as should Walter Mondale, Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney (after next January). Bush Sr, VP to Reagan, gets it already for being a former president.

The shenanigans is when stuff unrelated to the main bill gets added to it. In this case it's increased powers for cybercrime (They seem a bit "big" on that, "man").

Defence Appropriation bills are popular for this: Allegedly the 1970 bill had 12 earmarks, the 1980 one had 62 and the 2005 one had 2671. Highways bills are also targets: Transportation Appropriation bill of 2005 had over 6000 of them.

Anon and Black Helicopter, because there's no way I'm gonna comment on US Security with my real name.

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Silver badge

So keyloggers on nine computers is OK?

if I remove those nine, can I install nine more on different computers?

Are dwarves limited to 7 and elves to 3?

What are the rules if I find other people's keyloggers bring them under my control and in the darkness bind them?

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IT Angle

Ten or more computers ...

Kinda arbitrary isn't it?

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Anonymous Coward

@flocke kroes

Bravo, sir. Bravo.

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Silver badge
Pirate

The voice of experience

On the surface, it seems a good and sensible move.

HOWEVER, experience shows that new legislation by a government is rarely good and frequently not sensible.

Whether this is due to inherent flaws or subsequent misapplication is a moot point - but let's wait awhile, keep our powder dry and see what happens.

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@Kwak

There is also the RAVE act - Reducing America's Vulnerability To Ecstasy. Tossers.

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Ulcerated Sphincter of ...

How long will it be before MS are using this POS draconian rubbish to get people who install dodgy versions of XP or office thrown in gaol.

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Joke

Question readers

So if I have a mutating Virus/Logger/Trojan or whatever flavor of the month it is and its really not EXACTLY the same on every computer (albet the functions are the same) does that mean im safe? All your computer are belong to me.

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Stop

Can someone please explain

How on earth can unrelated government acts & laws be tagged together?

What sort of government, or more properly what sort of people, allows the utter stupidity of setting up a system which seems to encourage the concealment of one new law within another?

How do you know what law you're being charged under for which crime?

"Well sir, you're being charged under the FVPPA, 2008, for installing keyloggers onto 11 computers. And under the Clean Air act 2005 for having a gap greater than 6 inches between the posts on your picket fence. And under the Foods and Consumables (Storage & Refrigeration) Act 2001, for having a Christian symbol, a candle, visible from the public highway. Now just let me slip these nice bracelets on you and we'll go down to the station."

Stupid, stupid, stupid!

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Anonymous Coward

U.S. Laws

The reason we (Americans) end up with off-topic additions to laws is that, while the President is able to veto bills passed by Congress, he isn't able to veto only parts of them. Knowing that he won't veto a bill to provide protection for former Vice-Presidents, somebody in the Senate has tacked this on to that bill. That way, they can get it passed and signed into law without too much technical debate, which most in Congress wouldn't understand anyway.

If you're charged under this law, you'll probably just be told that you violated "US Code Section 132005, section 449a, subsection Q" or something, so the title of the law is only of interest to lawyers anyway.

"Earmarks", as mentioned earlier, usually only refers to specific spending requests tacked onto bills by individual lawmakers to benefit their states/districts (i.e. buy them votes), so this wouldn't qualify.

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several states link severity to a number.

15 passwords is a misdemeanor -- 150 is a felony.

having a number separates the dumbass skript kiddy from the hardened computer conspirator.

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Someone should tell them...

"The bill also would allow federal courts to prosecute attackers who go after computers located in the same state in which they live. Under current law, federal courts only have jurisdiction if the thief uses interstate communication to access the victim's PC."

Even if the computers are in the same state, it is unlikely that the path between the attacker and their victim was restricted to that state. Given the nature of TCP/IP traffic, more likely is that the communication bounced around several states, or even countries, before it landed at the victim. I find it hard to believe that proving the communication went beyond state boundaries would be a requirement made of the prosecution.

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