5 Cyber Crimes You May be Committing Without Knowing it
Statistics show that the average American spends more than 30 hours a week online. That leaves a lot of room for mistakes – and some of those mistakes could land you in jail. Cyber crimes defense attorneys with Gainesville’s Law Offices of Edwards & Jones Criminal Defense details five computer crimes you may be committing without even knowing it.
- Digital Millennium Copyright Act: In effect since 1998, the DMCA makes it a criminal offense to circumvent or disable any kind of technological copyright protection on works including music,
TV shows and films. Even if you don’t actually violate anyone’s copyright, it’s a federal crime just to crack that protection. Thrill hackers beware.
- No Electronic Theft Act: Remember ripping that copy of the latest Harry Potter film for your 8-year-old nephew? You could be looking at five years in prison and/or $250,000 in fines. Prior to the NET Act’s passage, copying DVDs, CDs, etc. was illegal only if done with the intent of making money from it. Now, it’s a crime just to make that copy.
- Unauthorized Access: So you’re parked just outside that little corner coffee shop, killing a little time before your meeting in the building next door. You pop open your laptop and are thrilled to see that you can access the coffee shop’s free WiFi (intended for use by paying customers) from you parking spot to check your emails – and you don’t even have to go in and buy a cup of Joe. Only trouble is, that few minutes surfing the net on the coffee shop’s dime could land you in jail. Innocent as it may seem, you’re actually violating computer security laws in effect in Florida and multiple other states. The same law covers accessing someone else’s computer, whether it’s hacking into a stranger’s online banking account to steal money or using your ex-girlfriend’s login information to post embarrassing updates on her Facebook profile. If you don’t have express permission, don’t access that computer or wireless connection.
- Cyberbullying and Cyberharassment: Laws prohibiting cyberbullying, cyberharassment and cyberstalking are in effect in multiple states, and on the federal level. Depending upon the intensity, frequency and content, that verbal flame-throwing on your social media site can land you in hot water, particularly if it involves mentions of race, gender or faith, or threatening language. Keep your cool when an online discussion heats up.
- Child Pornography: Considered among the most heinous of cybercrimes, child pornography is vigorously litigated even when laws were unintentionally broken. And many computer owners are at risk without even knowing it. Is your computer’s firewall up to date and intact? Ever clicked on a pop-up ad, even the little “x” that closes the visible window? You could have dozens, even hundreds of downloaded files hidden on your computer.
Cybercrime is a complex legal field that requires highly specialized knowledge. If you find yourself accused of a computer crime, you’ll need an experienced computer crimes defense attorney. Gainesville’s Law Offices of Edwards & Jones Criminal Defense can help. Call toll-free 352.377.7800 or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation.