[Sweden] Prosecutor tries to make installing any software illegal

Sometimes the stupidity is just too much! The prosecutor tries to use a law designed to protect book keeping and data archives to make software installations illegal. 

Source: http://www.idg.se/2.1085/1.605230/aklagare--kriminalisera-otillatna-program-pa-jobbdatorn


TLDR: Prosecutor fails to convict the company's president for installing Google Talk on his own (company) machine. Has decided to appeal to the supreme court. If prosecution wins, all "unauthorized" software installs on a company computer would be illegal and considered "hacking".


Google Translated (but edited) version:

A case that could have enormous consequences for both employers and employees are driven now by a prosecutor in Stockholm. It's about what we can do with our job computers.

The prosecutor's line in pure laymansterms: If you install a program on a computer without permission, no matter what kind of programs, then you should be convicted of hacking.

A 54-year-old director in the logistics industry installed Google Talk on his work computer, an application for instant messaging. In connection with a prosecution for violation of copyright law the prosecutor Henrik Rasmusson also brought up the installation of Google Talk.

The 54-year-old had no right to install software on his work computer, and since the program, according to the prosecutor, was intended for "automatic processing" the man was indicted for hacking.

But the Court of Appeal disagreed. At the end of November last year they concluded that the installation of Google Talk, by all means was wrongful, 54-year-old was not authorized to install the software by his employer.

But, writes Court of Appeals, "if the concept of "registry" is given a broad interpretation it would thus mean that all unauthorized software installations were to be criminalized":

[Image of ruling in paper form, translated in next paragraph]

"According to the results in the investigation, a computer's file- and registry-systems are affected as soon as a program is installed on the computer. This is true regardless of which operating system is installed on the computer. If the concept of 'registry' is given a broad interpretation it would thus mean that all sofware installations were to be criminalized. The purpose of the [law/penal provision] is however to protect computer stored data. REDACTED action to only install a computer program which only affects such systems in the computer which are related to its function should thus fall outside the realm of 'introducing entry to a register' in the meaning of the [law/penal provision] in question. It is another thing that such an action might violate any internal policies regarding the use of computers at an employer."

In short, the Court of Appeal did not think that the installation of a program is the same thing as an "introduction of data in registers" and ruled in the director's favor.

But prosecutor Henrik Rasmusson want to take things a step further. Now he asks the Supreme Court to review it all.

"The current perception of us dealing with cybercrime is contrary that any unauthorized introductions of computer programs in computers is punishable," writes Henrik Rasmusson, in a submission to the Prosecution Authority, which in turn will forward the request to the Prosecutor General.

The million dollar question is whether a computer's registry files and program structure, that is, the things changed when an application is installed, is a "register" in the legal sense.

In his request for appeal it seems Henrik Rasmusson worries about what the consequences of the Court of Appeal's judgment.

"The Court of Appeal ruling means that the wrongful inclusion of computer programs in computers generally, (ie including spyware, trojans, etc.) will go unpunished because all changes that take place in registry files and file structure during installation are contingent on the functioning of the program," he writes.

IDG.se has attempted to contact Henrik Rasmusson, who is on holiday on Tuesday.



I love your click bait title. But it's logical that you shouldn't be allowed to install software on someone elses PC without permission. The 54 year old actually had been told to not install any software.

whatever, its not something that should be criminalized.

It's sad that i live in Sweden because of things like this. The schools and the most companys out there don't know much about IT and development. Sure you should not download anything but you should be able to download the most common programs and things you can use for education or production.

If it is a companies policy to not install software on a PC, then why are there no group policies in place to prevent this? The reason you do this is to avoid any ambiguity of a user saying "Uhhhh I didn't really know what I was doing!" which could definitely apply in this case.