National Crime Agency Denies Making Stupid Childhood Hacker Awareness Poster

By Gary Cutlack on at

A baffling hacking awareness poster that was allegedly being circulated around schools in the West Midlands has been disowned by one of the organisations supposedly behind it, although the West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit is standing by the claim that Discord could be used for evil. Which it regularly is, but probably not in the way they think.

This is the poster that caused the outrage...

...with logos suggesting the National Crime Agency and West Midlands Police were endorsing the message that having programming tools, Linux, and chat apps on the family computer might single out your child as a potential hacker who's on a fast-track to extradition to the US and 24,000 years in prison. The NCA says it didn't have anything to do with the poster, though, but the WMROCU is bravely taking responsibility for it.

A spokesperson for the unit doubled down on the claim, using the terrible argument that there's always the potential to use anything for bad, like even a hairbrush if you ram it in someone, and said: "The software mentioned is legal and, in the vast majority of cases is used legitimately, giving great benefit to those interested in developing their digital skills. However, as with any software, it can also be misused by those with less legitimate intentions."

I've often fantasised about smashing a mug into someone's face, but that doesn't mean everyone with a cup of tea on their desk is a potential violent criminal. [ZDNet via BBC]