Political and provocative news abounds this week and none more likely to cause division of opinion is the data hacking of the Ashley Madison online ‘affair’ site. Leaving aside the moral judgments being cast on the data subjects, there are several legal implications to this data hacking that are really not controversial at all.

Quite simply, the hacking of data in this manner is a criminal offence under section 1 of the Computer Misuse Act 1980 which states quite clearly that:

1.Unauthorised access to computer material

(1) A person is guilty of an offence if—

(2)The intent a person has to have to commit an offence under this section need not be directed at—

(3)A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable—

I think the law is equally clear when it comes to blackmail…..