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The Anonymous legal handbook

This document is part of our Guides for the Anonymous collective. Be sure to check it out.

This document goal is to better understand the some legal aspects of hacktivism in order to produce a guide to legal public relations. Even thought we were helped by juridic technician it’s not an official document so some information may not be inaccurate. It was created for North America but most civilized countries have similar law and rules.

Probable charge by activities

It’s important to know what charges can be held against people for doing specific activities in order to be aware of what information you can or cannot give in the PR specific context.

Here’s the list : D0x, DDoS, Opers, Trolling, Deface, Hack, Leak, Ops.









Laws related to computers

Here’s all the law we found related to hacktivism and public relations.

Possession of device to obtain unauthorized computer service

Owner, giving or selling any computer device primarily intended for unlawful uses is unlawful unless you have “reasonable” reasons.

Related laws

USA : 18 USC § 2701
Canada : Article 342.2

Possession of device to obtain telecommunication facility or service

If you create, alter, possess, sell or offer any device or instruments to gain non permitted access or gain access to telecoms with unlawful intentions.

Related laws

USA : 18 USC § 2512
Canada : Article 237

Unlawful use of computer

Doing anything that isn’t allowed by a “valid” authority while using a computer device.

Related laws

USA : 18 USC § 506, 18 USC § 1030
Canada : Article 342.1

Interception and disclosure of communications

If you willfully intercepts a private communication, including between devices, without permissions, with any device, even a paper cup against a door. Of course if you’re any law agency or security firm you have “reasonable” rights to do what you want.

Related laws

USA : 18 USC § 2511
Canada : Article 184, 193

Mischief in relation to data

If you alter, destroys or render useless any data. If you endanger someone’s life in doing so you can go to prison for life, else it depend on how much the data is worth.

Related laws

Canada : Article 430 (1.1)

Fraud with identification documents, authentication features, and information

Produce authentication documents (such as fake login, like rootkits, authentification keys, etc), possess, download or transfer such documents.

Related laws

USA : 18 USC § 1028

Unlawful access to stored communications

If you access to any electronic service you’re not supposed to.

Related laws

USA : 18 USC § 2701

Laws related to public relations

Criminal harassment or stalking

Virtually any direct or indirect unwanted contact causing someone to fear for their safety or the safety or anyone they know or engaging in threatening conduct directed at the other person or any member of their family.

Related laws

USA : 18 USC § 2261A
Canada : Article 264

Related documents

Stalking Victimization
Wikipedia, Stalking

Invasion of privacy


Individual who unlawfully intrudes into his or her private affairs, discloses his or her private information, publicizes him or her in a false light or appropriates his or her name for personal gain.


Collect, keep, edit, share and publish personal information without proper authorization.

Related laws

Canada : Article 183

Related documents

Privacy laws of the United States
Invasion of Privacy Law & Legal Definition

Public incitement of hatred


In the United States, hate speech is protected as a civil right (aside from usual exceptions to free speech, such as defamation, incitement to riot, and fighting words). Laws prohibiting hate speech are unconstitutional in the United States; the United States federal government and state governments are forbidden by the First Amendment of the Constitution from restricting speech.


Communicate statements in public, which incites hatred against any identifiable group and is likely to lead to a breach of the peace.
You’re ok if any of the following is true :

  • the statements are proven as true and are shared in good faith
  • the statements are relevant to any subject of public interest and the discussion was for the public benefit

Identifiable group : any section of the public distinguished by color, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.

Related laws

Canada : Article 319

Related documents

Hate speech in the United States, Wikipedia
Canada Supreme Court: Hyperlinks cannot libel

Person counseling offense

If you willfully incite, solicit or give any form of advice to anyone committing a crime, are as equally guilty.

Related laws

Canada : Article 22
United Kingdom : Act 1861

Counseling offense that is not committed

If you willfully incite, solicit or give any form of advice to anyone with the intention of them committing a crime, you can be found guilty even thought the person didn’t commit it.

Related laws

Canada : Article 464

Laws related to criminal offenses

Attempts, accessories

If you attempt to commit a crime, you’re equally guilty as if you committed the crime.

Related laws

USA : 18 USC § 1349
Canada : Article 463

Parties to offense

If you intentionally work with anyone committing a crime, you also commit it.

Related laws

USA : 18 USC § 2
Canada : Article 21

Sources and links used

U.S. Code : Table of Contents | LII / Legal Information Institute
US Code – United States Code
Computer and internet fraud | LII / Legal Information Institute
Criminal Code, Department of Justice
Technological Crimes – Canadian Legal Instruments
Barrett Brown Indictment No. 2
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act