Current Law Thought To Cover Computer Vandalism

  • Doug Graham

The Minister of Justice, Rt Hon D.A.M. Graham, said today there seems to be some confusion as to whether or not computer vandalism is a crime under existing law.

"I have seen some commentators suggest there is no offence under New Zealand law for causing damage to computer programmes."

He said Section 298(4) of the Crimes Act provides for a term of imprisonment of up to five years for anyone who wilfully destroys or damages any property not otherwise provided for in the Crimes Act.

The term "property" is broadly defined and, while the matter has yet to be tested in New Zealand, it would appear to cover property such as computer programmes, he said.

Nevertheless, Mr Graham said his officials were already investigating the need for specific offences dealing with computer crime.