As the internet continues to become a bigger part of everyone’s lives, it’s important for people to understand how technology and the law intersect. It is true that tech laws tend to be rather behind the times, since technology itself evolves so quickly. But there are laws in place about what people are and are not allowed to do on the internet that remain as relevant – and potentially consequential – now as they were when they were drafted.
It’s important for people to understand how these rules and regulations work. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse for violating it, and it is certainly possible to accidentally violate these laws and face serious ramifications. To help, below are a few examples of common internet crimes to be aware of.
Unauthorized access offenses
Basic computer hacking means accessing a computer system or a network without the proper authorization. It usually does not look anything like the movies. It could be as simple as reading someone’s email or private messages without first getting permission. While some types of hacking are done with advanced computer systems and algorithms that try to break passwords, people also face these accusations simply for things like guessing a coworker’s password or using a computer that was left logged into an account.
Committing financial crimes
The internet creates the potential for many different types of fraud or financial crimes. Scam emails and text messages are common, seeking to get people’s information for the purpose of identity theft or accessing their financial accounts. Some types of fraud also target users by asking them to transfer money with apps like Venmo or CashApp. In some cases, these are white-collar crimes, like when an employee uses software to embezzle from the business they work at.
Damaging or destroying information and systems
Destructive actions can also be crimes, such as accessing a network and destroying or damaging the files that are on that network. An example of this could be putting a virus on a system that will automatically delete files even after the user has logged back out of the system.
These are just three examples of many potential internet and computer-based crimes to be aware of. Those facing criminal accusations need to know what steps to take to safeguard their interests, so connecting with an attorney right away after being placed under investigation or being arrested is critically important.