The new law defines hacking as penetrating a computer security system and gaining access to secure data, without necessarily stealing data. Offenders are defined as any individual or group that intentionally creates, spreads or purchases hacker tools designed for illegal purposes. They could face up to 10 years in prison for major offenses.

“Dual use is at the root of the problem with the new law,” said Andy M?ller-Maguhn, a spokesman for the German hacker club Chaos Computer Club. “You can develop tools, for instance, to test the security of a network system but you can use the very same tools to hack a system. Our concern is that if a person has to go to court for having a hacker tool on his system, he will have to prove his good intentions.”

The legal uncertainty created by the new law will make the work of security experts in Germany more difficult, according to M?ller-Maguhn.

continued @ InfoWorld