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Innovation

Hacking tools don't hack, hackers do

It is not unusual for society, and particularly law makers, to identify tools with crimes. It is a knee jerk response.
Written by Richard Stiennon, Contributor on

It is not unusual for society, and particularly law makers, to identify tools with crimes. It is a knee jerk response. If there are a lot of crimes committed with guns, outlaw guns. If a lot of skiers get killed by collisions with trees, cut down the trees!

Law makers in Germany are guilty of this simplistic thinking. The anti-hacking law passed in May and in effect since this past weekend makes it illegal to produce "hacking tools" and could even be interpreted as making it illegal to have hacking tools on your computer. If enforced this could make it difficult for a lot people including me. Will I have to scour my computer to remove all traces of pingbot, Nessus, etc. before getting on a plane to Frankfurt?

I assume that German police will not go on a witch hunt with this new law but will use it to help them prosecute cases where the evidence is sketchy but the suspects' computers are riddled with "toolz". While it is not the end of the world it is bad lawmaking.

Expect this law to get a lot of attention from the security blogging community as many of them travel often and love to load up their Macs with hacking tools.

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