The days of locking people up in the Tower of London for life are long gone, but Queen Elizabeth wants to bring them back in the case of certain hackers.
In a speech, she outlined plans to create much stiffer penalties for cybercrimes, including life imprisonment in the most serious cases. The Guardian reports:
Any hackers that manage to carry out "cyberattacks which result in loss of life, serious illness or injury or serious damage to national security, or a significant risk thereof" would face the full life sentence, according to the serious crime bill proposed in Wednesday's Queen's speech.
As well as targeting cyberterrorists, the new offence in the proposed update to the Computer Misuse Act 1990 would also hand harsher sentences to those hackers carrying out industrial espionage, believed to be a growing menace affecting UK business.
The law would have a maximum sentence of 14 years for attacks that create "a significant risk of severe economic or environmental damage or social disruption". Currently, the section of the CMA covering such an offence carries a 10-year sentence.
Critics argue that such disruptions are already covered under existing laws. Additionally, in the UK, computer hacking activities by so-called "white hat hackers" to detect and prevent cyberattacks are currently punishable under computer crimes laws.