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A 13-year-old boy from Inner Mongolia received a cuff around the ear and was grounded for a week after Chinese authorities discovered he had hacked his way into a private information network. Under Inner Mongolian law, the boy is too young to be prosecuted. But if he does it again after his next birthday -- after which time police will legally be able to nail the little urchin -- he should move to Norway, where a court has ruled that attempting to hack into a computer is not a crime. The decision -- which has left some industry pundits speechless -- is believed to be the first of a kind and arguably sets a troublesome legal precedent. The court ruled that if computers are hooked up to the Internet, their owners must expect that others may try to break into their systems. While the court said trying to hack wasn't a crime, it did conclude that breaking and entering did constitute a felony. As reported last month by The Register (see Norway legalises hacking), and just picked up AP, hackers in Norway are now free to search the Internet to identify areas where security is weak before passing on the information for others to use illegally. ®

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