Doormat-ologist needed

Peter Sommer peter at
Wed Sep 8 07:25:14 BST 2010

On 08/09/2010 04:38, Peter Fairbrother wrote:
> Caspar Bowden (travelling private e-mail) wrote:
>> Doormat-ologists' opinion please of:
>> erception .Addressing the home affairs select committee today John
>> Yates, the assistant Metropolitan police commissioner, repeated
>> earlier claims by police that cases of hacking into voicemails could
>> only be prosecuted if the victim had not yet listened to their
>> messages.
The offence that would work in these circumstances is s1 Computer Misuse Act 1990:  "unauthorised access to a computer".

Here is the CPS guidance:
The CMA does not provide a definition of a computer; this is because it was feared that any definition would soon become out of date due to the rapid with which technology develops. Definition is therefore left to the Courts who are expected to adopt the contemporary meaning
of the word. In DPP v McKeown, DPP v Jones ([1997] 2Cr App R, 155, HL at page 163) Lord Hoffman defined a computer as “a device for storing, processing and retrieving information”.

In this instance the "computer" is, if it is a cellphone facility that is being breached,  the machine maintained by the cellphone company for that purpose, or, if it is the victim's own home answerphone attached to his/her landline, that machine.

Peter Sommer

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