US Congress should legalize attacking hacker’s computers with malware, physically destroy networks and take photos of data thieves and copyright violators with their own cameras in order to punish IP thieves, the IP Commission recommends.
The commissioners - former US government officials and military men - say that the “scale of international theft of American intellectual property (IP) is unprecedented”. However, the US government response has been “utterly inadequate to deal with the problem.”
"Almost all the advantages are on the side of the hacker; the current situation is not sustainable," the commissions's report says.
“New options need to be considered,” the authors call, then adding that current laws are limited and “have not kept pace with the technology of hacking.”
Thus, the commission suggests allowing active network retrieving stolen information, “altering it within the intruder’s networks, or even destroying the information within an unauthorized network."
For example, locking down the computer of unauthorized users and forcing them to come out to police could be one of the options.
“The file could be rendered inaccessible and the unauthorized user’s computer could be locked down, with instructions on how to contact law enforcement to get the password needed to unlock the account,” the commission recommended.
In other words, authors suggest legalizing ransomware - an extortion tool used by organized criminals, when malware that blocks access to the computer system it infects, and demands a ransom paid to the creator to remove the restriction.
Such measures, the commissioners stressed, do not violate existing laws, but still might help to prevent attacks and even provide both time and evidence for law enforcement to investigate the cyber-crime.
As additional measures, the report recommends “physically disabling or destroying the hacker’s own computer or network,” implanting malware in the hacker’s network or photographing the hacker using his own system’s camera.
“The legal underpinnings of such actions taken at network speed within the networks of hackers, even when undertaken by governments, have not yet been developed,” the authors say.
So, if counterattacks against hackers were legal, companies could use a variety of techniques and cause severe damage to the capability of IP pirates.
"These attacks would raise the cost to IP thieves of their actions, potentially deterring them from undertaking these activities in the first place," the report concludes.
However, if counterattacks were legalized, this would not be just about companies and hacker. Some pirated movies or songs on private computers, could be deemed an IP theft and allow rights holders to do horrible things to suspected systems.