Industry group demands fix for 'weak' cybercrime laws

Brief:A single law against hacking and spamming could stop the UK looking like a soft touch, according to the Communications Management Association

The threats facing Britain's Internet-enabled companies and consumers are so great that new laws are needed to fight the problem, and fix the mistakes made by the government in its previous attempts to combat spam.

That was the message from the Communications Management Association (CMA) on Monday, as it kicked off a debate into Broadband Britain at the Enterprise Networks show in London.

"IT law in this country is now seen as weak," claimed Carolyn Kimber, CMA chair, pointing to a sharp rise in ID theft and the growth of unsolicited junk email.

Kimber added that the privacy and electronic communications legislation brought in by the government last year was "so poor" that spammers are now said to be moving into the UK, as reported by ZDNet UK last month.

According to Kimber, the situation is so bad that drastic action is now needed.

"We want to see the Computer Misuse Act and the privacy and electronic communications legislation combined into a single effective piece of legislation," said Kimber.

The government is currently reviewing the Computer Misuse Act, which was brought in back in 1990 before the Internet entered the mainstream. Last week the All Party Internet group recommended that it is brought up to date with tougher penalties for convicted hackers.

The Communications Management Association represents individuals who are responsible for private telecommunications networks in the public or private sector.