The hacktivist legal handbook
This document goal is to better understand the some legal aspects of hacktivism. Even thought we were helped by juridic technician it’s not an official document. It was created for North America but most civilized countries have similar law and rules.
Probable charge by activities
It’s important to know what charges can be held against people for doing specific activities in order to be aware of what information you can or cannot give in the PR specific context.
Here’s the list : D0x, DDoS, Opers, Trolling, Deface, Hack, Leak, Ops.
Here’s all the law we found related to hacktivism and public relations.
Possession of device to obtain unauthorized computer service
Owner, giving or selling any computer device primarily intended for unlawful uses is unlawful unless you have “reasonable” reasons.
USA : 18 USC § 2701
Canada : Article 342.2
If you create, alter, possess, sell or offer any device or instruments to gain non permitted access or gain access to telecoms with unlawful intentions.
USA : 18 USC § 2512
Canada : Article 237
Unlawful use of computer
Doing anything that isn’t allowed by a “valid” authority while using a computer device.
USA : 18 USC § 506, 18 USC § 1030
Canada : Article 342.1
Interception and disclosure of communications
If you willfully intercepts a private communication, including between devices, without permissions, with any device, even a paper cup against a door. Of course if you’re any law agency or security firm you have “reasonable” rights to do what you want.
USA : 18 USC § 2511
Canada : Article 184, 193
Mischief in relation to data
If you alter, destroys or render useless any data. If you endanger someone’s life in doing so you can go to prison for life, else it depend on how much the data is worth.
Canada : Article 430 (1.1)
Fraud with identification documents, authentication features, and information
Produce authentication documents (such as fake login, like rootkits, authentification keys, etc), possess, download or transfer such documents.
USA : 18 USC § 1028
Unlawful access to stored communications
If you access to any electronic service you’re not supposed to.
USA : 18 USC § 2701
Criminal harassment or stalking
Virtually any direct or indirect unwanted contact causing someone to fear for their safety or the safety or anyone they know or engaging in threatening conduct directed at the other person or any member of their family.
USA : 18 USC § 2261A
Canada : Article 264
Invasion of privacy
Individual who unlawfully intrudes into his or her private affairs, discloses his or her private information, publicizes him or her in a false light or appropriates his or her name for personal gain.
Collect, keep, edit, share and publish personal information without proper authorization.
Canada : Article 183
Privacy laws of the United States
Invasion of Privacy Law & Legal Definition
Public incitement of hatred
In the United States, hate speech is protected as a civil right (aside from usual exceptions to free speech, such as defamation, incitement to riot, and fighting words). Laws prohibiting hate speech are unconstitutional in the United States; the United States federal government and state governments are forbidden by the First Amendment of the Constitution from restricting speech.
Communicate statements in public, which incites hatred against any identifiable group and is likely to lead to a breach of the peace.
You’re ok if any of the following is true :
- the statements are proven as true and are shared in good faith
- the statements are relevant to any subject of public interest and the discussion was for the public benefit
Identifiable group : any section of the public distinguished by color, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.
Canada : Article 319
Hate speech in the United States, Wikipedia
Canada Supreme Court: Hyperlinks cannot libel
Person counseling offense
If you willfully incite, solicit or give any form of advice to anyone committing a crime, are as equally guilty.
Canada : Article 22
United Kingdom : Act 1861
Counseling offense that is not committed
If you willfully incite, solicit or give any form of advice to anyone with the intention of them committing a crime, you can be found guilty even thought the person didn’t commit it.
Canada : Article 464
If you attempt to commit a crime, you’re equally guilty as if you committed the crime.
USA : 18 USC § 1349
Canada : Article 463
Parties to offense
If you intentionally work with anyone committing a crime, you also commit it.
USA : 18 USC § 2
Canada : Article 21
Sources and links used