Computer Weekly Editor's Blog

Mar 17 2009   10:37AM GMT

15 questions that the BBC should answer in relation to its botnet special

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Robert Carolina also supplied me with 15 questions the BBC should answer in relation to its investigation into botnets and cybercrime.


1.    Who provided you with the advance legal advice that your actions were not criminal?
2.    Can you produce a memorandum of that legal advice?
3.    Did your legal adviser consider the application of Section 1 of the Computer Misuse Act 1990 to your activities?
4.    Did your legal adviser consider the possible application of laws outside the UK to your activities?
5.    Did your legal adviser consider possible liability arising under the law of negligence in the event that your actions caused harm to any of the compromised computers around the world?
6.    Did you consider whether your public service announcement placed on compromised machines (presumably in English) would be read-able by owners of machines in places like Thailand, China, and Russia?
7.    Did you consider whether or not your effort to cause the botnet trojan to self-destruct might disrupt or crash the operation of any of the compromised machines?
8.    Did you consider the impact of any such disruption if any of the machines were involved in safety-critical applications such as hospital computer records?
9.    Did you seek permission from Google to transmit spam to Google’s email servers?
10.    Did you seek permission from the ISP who serves your independent security adviser prior to launching the DDOS attack on that server?
11.    What level of due diligence did you undertake on the technical operation of the botnet software before using it to launch spam and DDOS attacks?
12.    Did you consult in advance with any public authority in the UK or elsewhere (such as the Metropolitan Police, the Crown Prosecution Service, any of the UK Security Services, or the Home Office) concerning the legality or advisability of your actions?
13.    With whom inside the BBC did you consult before taking the actions described in the story?
14.    Who within the BBC approved your actions?
15.    Given that complaints about the story started to appear days ahead of its broadcast, who within the BBC authorised the broadcast of the story on Saturday?

Go here to see the story on the BBC

1  Comment on this Post

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  • Tim Trent
    I imagine that a request under the Freedom of Information Act regarding those questions has already been made?

    Such requests should go to
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