Computers And The Law Essay

2446 words - 10 pages

QUESTIONS:- What are computer crimes?- What statutes govern computers use and abuse?- How was computer crimes dealt with in the past?ESSAY:The widespread use of Information Technology has created new opportunities for computer crimes. A computer crime, obviously involves using a computer, can be in the form of hacking, software piracy, planting viruses or storing/distributing inappropriate pornographic images to name just a few. Below and in the following pages you will find more detailed information about a few of the most common computer crimes.When you think of computer crimes one of the most obvious things that come to mind would be 'hacking'. This is where someone intentionally obtains unauthorised access or modification to data held on a computer system either because they want to "capture data for the pursuit of knowledge" , show off their technical skills or to steal or damage data for whatever reason. Someone may for example hack into their employer's database to change their pay structure or destroy other data.The motives vary but aren't always so sinister, there have been many cases where it was purely fascination or to prove to someone that it can be done. Take for example the case about Matthew Bevan, a 23 year-old programmer and his teenage accomplice Richard Pryce who were obsessed with the TV series and movie X-Files and the search for alien spacecraft. "Both walked free after a 3 year-long case against them collapsed. They had hacked into the US Air Force computers, partly motivated by a belief that a captured alien spacecraft was being held secretly at a remote Nevada airbase" .Obtaining credit card information from computers or receipts and using them to order goods over the Internet is another form of computer crime. Computer fraud is not covered by The Computer Misuse Act of 1990, it is however dealt with by general criminal law such as The Theft Act 1968 and 1978 as well the Criminal Act 1977, the Value Add Tax Act 1994 section 72 and The Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981 section 10.Another common form of fraud on the Internet takes place between purchasers and bogus traders. Here is an example of what might happen... an innocent purchaser searches for some Christmas gifts for his/her family and ends up at an online-shopping site, which he/she believes is a legitimate trader, called for example 'Kargos'. He/she places an order for some Jewellery and pays using his/her credit card, not knowing that those gifts will never be delivered to him/her, however the payment for them will be taken by the bogus trader.It is also possible to get special hardware and software which can read the information from the magnetic strip of a credit card and write it to another making it possible for fraudsters to duplicate someone's credit card without their knowledge and use it to pay for goods or obtain cash.Software Piracy is where software is copied and sold illegally (also known as bootlegging). Other intellectual property such as music...

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