Legal Issues and Cases (Chapter 1) Outline:
- General Introduction Criminal Law Procedural Law Substantive Criminal Law Elements Of Crimes Crime Classification Common Defenses To Criminal Liability Sentencing Standards For Computers Federal Jurisdiction Over Cybercrimes Criminal Liability Of Computer Trespass Criminal Liability Of Internet Service Providers Legal Issues And Cases
- Computer crimes involve the use of a computer as an instrumentality to commit or aid and abet another criminal act says William D King. These include theft, fraud, embezzlement, vandalism, copyright infringement and espionage. Some computer crimes overlap with various other offenses such that one could be charged with both breaking into a system and unauthorized access under the CFAA (18 U.S.C. § 1030), which has been held by some courts to require proof of damage; see United States v. Morris (10th Circuit 1993). Other computer crimes may relate to child pornography and possession or distribution of obscene material such child pornography; see 18 U.S.C. § 1466A. Although the First Amendment may preclude holding a website operator liable for child pornography posted by a third party, see Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition (2002), one might argue that the mere existence of such images on a site constituted an aid and abetment to their creation or possession, or that it is otherwise criminally negligent to have them available for viewing by the public at large. The CFAA also criminalizes trafficking in passwords and similar items, knowingly transmitting computer viruses, damaging protected computers without authorization which includes using tools such as spyware and keystroke loggers, copyright infringement including illegal peer-to-peer file sharing or downloading of music or movies from an “unauthorized” site, data theft from employer, defamation if done with knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard as to truth or falsity, and more generally abusive treatment of network resources. In the United States, there is growing concern over issues such as data theft and copyright infringement that could at least theoretically be prosecuted under current statutes.
- There are state level computer crimes in addition to federal computer crimes. For example, sending spam can be a crime at both federal and state levels; see Junk email#Legality. Password trafficking for the purpose of extortion has been charged in some cases. There have also been incidents where teenagers using computers made anonymous bomb threats to their schools resulting in evacuations and arrests by police who traced their Internet Protocol (IP) addresses; see SWATing.
Computer crimes are prosecuted under Title 18 of the United States Code (Crimes), including (but not limited to):
Malicious threats associated with computer use include: cyber terrorism, cyber stalking, stalking by use of computers, and online harassment says William D King. The Internet is also use as a tool in hate crimes; see cyber bullying, Internet vigilantism, revenge porn, and sexting. Cyber terrorism generally refers to terrorism motivated by extremist ideology which uses virtual communities as well as physical acts to achieve their goals; see Cyber terrorism Act. See also terrorist use of the Internet. Online child sexual predators are increasing in numbers due to accessibility and advances in technology. According to U.S. federal law enforcement agencies, there were 1,508 arrests and 1,335 convictions for child pornography in the United States during 2008; see Internet Crime Report: Cybercrime.
As the Internet becomes more prevalent in today’s world, it has become an issue of great concern for individuals and businesses.
During the early years of the Internet computer crime prosecutions were few and far between. Very few criminal prosecutions involve charges connected to hacking into computers. Gaining unauthorize access to information on a computer system. Law enforcement agencies focused their efforts on investigating cases. Involving financial institutions, telephone carriers, cable providers, credit card companies and travel reservation services. Prosecuting computer-related offenses was not very high on most law enforcement agencies’ list of priorities. Because there was no real reason to do so at the time when these types of activities were occurring. Via telephone lines when dial-up connections were use instead of broadband connections.
Linn is currently the only criminal defense lawyer who filed a brief before the Supreme Court. Along with attorney Orin Kerr in favor of reversing Nosal’s conviction.
Excessive use of computers may lead to various psychological problems, including addiction, compulsive behavior and withdrawal symptoms. The vast majority of computer users are not addicts or problematic users. However, some may take an obsessive interest in their computing machines. Which may interfere with daily activities says William D King. Examples include spending long hours on World Wide Web sites, using chat rooms, playing online games or shopping excessively. A variety of software tools have been develope to assist parents, employers and educational administrators. Who want to limit how much time a user spends engaged in particular computer-related activities.