Friday, November 16, 2007

United Arab Emirates Police Call for Tougher Cyber Terrorism Laws

During a recent information security conference in the UAE, police representatives discussed the need for stronger penalties for those who set up websites supporting terrorism.

"Major Khalid Al Hamadi of the Sharjah Police Department called for the strengthening of penalties for those who build terror-related Web sites during a presentation of a study on cyberterrorism in the UAE at the fifth annual Middle East Information Technology Security Conference, the Khaleej Times reported.

Current UAE federal law stipulates a five-year jail term for anyone found guilty of launching a terror-related Web site or of publishing information favoring a terrorist organization."

This call for criminalizing websites supporting terrorism follows a trend in several countries including several in the EU. However, in all of these cases, there is little discussion of the difficulty in enforcement. Some of the issues that will need to be addressed include:
  1. Defining terrorism - Different countries have widely varying definitions of terrorism
  2. Delineating free speech from material terrorist support
  3. Investigating and intelligence tools to properly identify website authors
  4. Culpability of third-parties such as ISPs
  5. International jurisdictional issues
Without good enforcement, websites that are shut down will just reappear in a different virtual location.

Tougher penalties for cyberterrorists

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