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Briton guilty of Dubai hacking
From: InfoSec News <isn () c4i org>
Date: Mon, 2 Jul 2001 01:21:38 -0500 (CDT)


By Julia Wheeler in Dubai 
Sunday, 1 July, 2001

A British man has been found guilty of hacking into the United Arab
Emirates' state internet system and fined $2,700 (1,900).

Lee Ashurst, 22, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, was found not guilty
of the related charge of opening other people's e-mail, but he still
faces a separate civil case.

The monopoly internet provider in the UAE, Etisalat, had accused Lee
Ashurst of hacking into its system from his laptop computer and
causing widespread problems.

There is currently no law against hacking in the UAE but Ashurst was
charged with the misuse of telecommunications equipment.


His arrest last June came after considerable public criticism of
Etisalat's internet services and the company alleged Ashurst was the
source of the extensive disruption.

Defence lawyers maintain their client was used as a scapegoat and are
planning to appeal against the verdict.

The case is also being transferred to the civil courts where Etisalat
plans to sue Ashurst for lost revenue during the time the server was

If it is successful, the resulting damages could run into thousands of

The UAE is currently rushing through legislation against hacking as a
result of the problems this case has highlighted.

The case has been embarrassing for the UAE, especially as Dubai has
been trying to position itself as the internet hub of the Middle East.

It has also given ammunition to local critics of the state's monopoly
on telecommunications.

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