Computers and the Law

Essay by TwiStaB+, December 2002

download word file, 10 pages 4.9 5 reviews


- What are computer crimes?

- What statutes govern computers use and abuse?

- How was computer crimes dealt with in the past?


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...