Colombia’s minister of defense announced Sunday that the Colombian government seeks legislation to make cyberterrorism a punishable crime in Colombia.
Minister German Vargas Lleras proposed ammending Law 599 as a part of the Citizens Security Policy proposed last week by the government. The intention, he said, is to define the crime so that attacks on information systems cannot be used to terrorize the population.
“This government is promising to strengthen legislation to punish this crime and to create protocols of regulation and security in systems of information technology and communications to stop terrorism from endangering institutions, the lives, and the security of Colombians,” Vargas Lleras said.
The defense minister made the announcement as a part of a joint workshop on internet terrorism held with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Vargas Lleras said cyberterrorism has been growing in Colombia. Perhaps the best-known example is from 2009, when a Colombian college student was arrested for allegedly threatening the life of former President Alvaro Uribe’s son via Facebook. The Colombian government enlisted the help of the FBI to locate the person they believe responsible for creating the group, although the arrested student denies that he was the creator. A judge dismissed nearly all the evidence against him, and the suspect was released in June 2010 because the legal deadline for his trial had expired.
Another example of cyberterrorism in Colombia saw the names of 65 young people published on Facebook as a part of a supposed paramilitary death list. Three of those mentioned on the list were killed, prompting Amnesty International to demand that the Colombian government protect the rest of those appearing on the list.