EU toughens penalties for internet-based crimes

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Virtual crime can lead to very real damage, and the European Parliament knows this well enough to have just issued a draft directive toughening up the EU's penalties for internet-based violations. Get caught running a botnet and you'll face a minimum of three years in prison; dare to attack critical infrastructure and you may spend five years behind bars. Don't think of hiring someone for corporate espionage, either -- the directive makes whole companies liable for online offenses committed in their name. EU nations will have two years to adopt the directive as law, although an existing, unofficial agreement suggests that at least some countries won't wait that long to enforce the new rules.

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