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Hacking 'legal' in Argentina

Another judge could yet rule differently on the case
By Lourdes Heredia
BBC correspondent in Buenos Aires

An Argentine judge has ruled that hacking is legal by default in the country, arguing 
that the law covers crimes against people, things and animals, but not cyberspace.

 Hackers protested the death of a journalist whose murder was linked to an associate 
of Menem

It is the first case against computer hacking in Argentina.

The judge gave his decision after presiding over the case of a group of people that 
broke into the Supreme Court's website.

Argentine law does not protect a website, so hacking into it cannot be illegal, he 
said, declaring those on trial innocent of the charges that they broke into the site.

'Legal void'

However, in the ruling, the judge warned of a "serious legal void" in the prosecution 
of digital crimes.

And in Argentina, courts rulings do not set legal precedents, therefore another judge 
could rule differently in a new case.

The group, known as the X-Team, modified the high court website in 1998, accusing the 
judges of covering up the murder of the prominent journalist Jose Luis Cabezas.

Cabezas' bullet-ridden, charred body was found in his car in 1997 after he posted 
pictures of businessman Alfredo Yabran.

Yabran was alleged by some to have been corrupt and was linked to former Argentine 
President Carlos Menem. He committed suicide after a judge ordered his arrest.

The death of the journalist, which happened during Mr Menem's government, provoked 
several protests against impunity and corruption among the Argentine elite.


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