Up­date laws to cover dig­i­tal crimes, ex­perts ad­vise

The big­gest harm of such an of­fense is that it can pro­vide tools for peo­ple to com­mit crimes down­stream.”

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - 4 China - By ZHOU WENTING in Shang­hai zhouwent­[email protected]­nadaily.com.cn

Le­gal ex­perts have called for leg­is­la­tion cov­er­ing emerg­ing dig­i­tal crimes, fill­ing gaps in Chi­nese laws de­signed to meet the chal­lenges of the agri­cul­tural and in­dus­trial eras.

As on­line busi­nesses con­tinue to boom, po­lice and court of­fi­cers are en­coun­ter­ing new types of cy­ber­crime, some of which have not been seen any­where be­fore, ac­cord­ing to aca­demics and lawyers.

The rec­om­men­da­tion came at the 2018 In­ter­net Law Con­fer­ence held in Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, on Sat­ur­day and Sun­day.

“In the in­for­ma­tion era, we should re­flect on and re­con­struct the Crim­i­nal Law, as leg­is­la­tion from past eras fails to con­strain some types of new il­le­gal be­hav­ior,” said Liang Gen­lin, a law pro­fes­sor at Pek­ing Univer­sity.

Zhou Guangquan, a law pro­fes­sor at Ts­inghua Univer­sity, added that it can be hard to find ap­pro­pri­ate charges in ex­ist­ing laws, or ju­di­cial in­ter­pre­ta­tions, as some types of on­line crime have no tra­di­tional equiv­a­lent.

A list of 10 cases this year that fell into that cat­e­gory was re­leased at the con­fer­ence, which was co-or­ga­nized by Zhe­jiang and Pek­ing uni­ver­si­ties, tech com­pa­nies Alibaba Group and Ant Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices, and the Zhe­jiang Peo­ple’s Procu­ra­torate.

“These cases are in­tended to in­form law­mak­ers and in­ter­net com­mu­ni­ties about new types of crim­i­nal of­fenses, to ad­vance the study of le­gal the­o­ries and to pro­vide mod­els for cy­berspace gov­er­nance,” said Gao Yan­dong, direc­tor of the Re­search Cen­ter for In­ter­net Law, part of Zhe­jiang Univer­sity’s Guanghua Law School.

One of the cases listed in­volved a coder who cre­ated and sold soft­ware that au­to­mat­i­cally reg­is­ters a large num­ber of ac­counts on an on­line gam­ing web­site. The of­fender was con­victed last month of pro­vid­ing soft­ware or tools to in­trude or il­le­gally con­trol com­puter in­for­ma­tion sys­tems in Lanxi, Zhe­jiang.

“The big­gest harm of such an of­fense is that it can pro­vide tools for peo­ple to com­mit crimes down­stream, such as sell­ing fake goods, sex­u­ally as­sault­ing mi­nors or cre­at­ing click farms,” Zhou said.

In an­other case on the list, eight peo­ple were jailed for fraud after buy­ing per­sonal data so they could hack user ac­counts on Tmall — Alibaba’s on­line shop­ping mall — and steal 6.71 mil­lion yuan ($965,700) trans­ac­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion pre­sented at the con­fer­ence, the gang mem­bers, all in their 20s, bought from their own on­line stores us­ing hacked ac­counts to rack up bonus points, which users can ex­change for dis­counts on goods, with Tmall cov­er­ing the dif­fer­ence. The on­line stores re­ceived money from Tmall for each trans­ac­tion us­ing bonus points.

News web­site thep­a­per.cn re­ported that in the first 20 days of Novem­ber 2015, 1.4 bil­lion fraud­u­lent trans­ac­tions were com­pleted.

The cul­prits re­ceived sen­tences rang­ing from eight to 12 and a half years at Nan­tong In­ter­me­di­ate Peo­ple’s Court in Jiangsu prov­ince in Fe­bru­ary.

“The sig­nif­i­cance of the case was that vir­tual prop­erty was con­firmed in court as be­ing prop­erty,” Gao said. “It ex­panded the def­i­ni­tion of prop­erty from phys­i­cal ob­jects in the in­dus­trial age to bonus points and ac­counts in the in­for­ma­tion age. And it can be data and in­for­ma­tion in the fu­ture.”

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