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A Critical Look at the Regulation of Computer Viruses

Mathias Klang
International Journal of Law and Information Technology, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 162-183
ISSN 0967-0769

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There is a witch-hunt taking place today. Without a deep understanding of the phenomena of computer viruses legislators are attempting, both nationally and internationally, to prohibit what they do not understand. The computer virus is both misunderstood as a concept and abused as a term. Despite this the rallying cry is that all viruses are evil and must be destroyed in the same way as witches were seen as evil in the middle ages. The uncritical criminalisation of computer viruses does not lead to a better society nor does it cure all the ills for which viruses are blamed. This paper is not a defence for viruses but it does explore the alternative uses of computer viruses of which a legislator should be aware and take into consideration when in the processes of defining the legal status of computer code.

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