[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled Friday that the US Interior Department does not have to disconnect its computers from the Internet despite the possibility of tampering by hackers. The dispute arose regarding the security of a US Interior Department website that contains information about royalty payments owed to American Indians for use of their land. In March, the Interior Department was ordered to take its websites and email systems offline after an expert testified that the Indian trust funds could be tampered with; it was, however, given permission to stay online until the Court of Appeals heard the case. The court today said that there was no evidence of actual tampering. A lawyer for the Indian plaintiffs said he would go back to the lower court and ask for a full hearing to determine the security of the Interior Department's computers. The appeals court ruling is online here [PDF]. Reuters has more.