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A judge has ruled hacking is legal by default in Argentina because of a lack of applicable computer crime laws.

Argentina's first computer hacking prosecution was dismissed after an unnamed Federal judge ruled its law only covered crimes on "people, things and animals" and not digital attacks.

The quirky ruling came in the case of a group, called the X-Team, who allegedly defaced the Supreme Court's Web page in 1998 during a protest over the "cover-up" by judges of the murder of magazine journalist Jose Luis Cabezas.

"This (ruling) allows us to warn that there is a serious legal void that these days does not allow us to repress these (crimes)," the judge said in the judgement, Reuters reports.

Unlike the US or Britain, Argentine court ruling do not set legal precedents so other judges might make a different judgement in future hacking cases.

Many countries are yet to update their laws to take into account the possibility of computer related crimes, with legislative changes only coming (if at all) after the collapse of high profile cases. A lack of applicable lack in the Philippines led to the release without charge of Onel de Guzman, the former student suspected of releasing the infamous Love Bug computer virus onto the Internet two years ago. ®

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