The Hack Lair

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

Possession of device to obtain telecommunication facility or service

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

Stalking Victimization Wikipedia, Stalking

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 :

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

Attempts, accessories

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