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The Weak US Penalties of Computer Crimes

The Weak US Penalties of Computer Crimes

In most countries, cyber crimes and Internet crimes have not been taken seriously.  Congress passed the Counterfeit Access Device and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in order to protect the Government's classified information, making it a "misdemeanor" to illegally obtain information through the use of a computer. Many argue about this law and the whole of the United States judicial system in terms of the way that this justice system deals with Internet crimes.
 
 
Around December of 2000, a variety of articles were released showing the United States as one of many countries to possess weak laws relating to computer and internet crime. In a famous study titled, "Cybercrime and Punishment", it showed that only nine out of the fifty-two countries actually enacted laws against Internet crimes. Since then, more and more laws have passed within the United States to help prosecute those who commit an Internet crime.
 
 
The public feels that the punishments for computer crimes are still too weak. Although it is a Federal offense to use malware (malicious software) to intentionally spread a computer virus, it is not illegal to create or to actually possess malware. Many argue against this allowance because they feel there is really not a positive need for malware and its only function is to help launch an Internet crime. Those that argue for the right to own malware maintain that it is their right and that it can even fall into the category of "freedom of speech".
 
 
People are also opposed to the lax laws against computer viruses because of the excessive amount of damage that is caused by a virus and the consequences usually only include probation and a few years of jail time. Meanwhile, the victim may feel violated in many ways that should constitute a more fair punishment based on the crime.
 
 
As more and more Internet crimes are committed everyday, it seems the penalties and laws are beginning to keep pace in order to protect American citizens from Internet crimes. Due to difficulties in defining specific computer crimes and the way certain laws are written, it can be difficult to execute a proper punishment in conjunction with the specific Internet crime committed.

An Overview of Computer Crime Charges

An Overview of Computer Crime Charges

Background
 
 
Computer crime charges have steadily progressed over the last forty years, allowing for action to be taken against the cybercrime criminals who commit them. The progression of laws and statutes that prohibit any kind of criminal activity involving computers has been a slow one, but nevertheless these laws and statutes are certainly on the rise.
 
 
Computer crimes range as far back as the early seventies when one of the first forms of a computer virus was created known as the "creeper virus". The suspicion was that the virus was invented as a mere prank or experiment by young computer programmers in order to see how far the virus could travel. 
 
 
About a decade later, another virus known as the "elk cloner virus" was one of the first viruses known to travel steadily over a network of computers. It would attach and replicate itself at a fast pace, causing an overwhelming amount of damage to computer systems.
 
 
The spread of viruses grew in the eighties as pirated software became more dominant within the public. Many times, a virus is a direct result of a harmful program known as "malware" (malicious software). Malware contains a hazardous code that is uploaded into a computer's system and can cause serious harm, such as data loss and information theft.
 
 
Many times, criminals will use malware as a means to commit cybercrimes. These crimes may include: computer fraud, identity theft, a denial of services attack (DOA attack), cyberstalking, information warfare, child pornography/child abuse, and creation of phishing scams.

What Are the Associated Penalties of Computer Crimes

What Are the Associated Penalties of Computer Crimes

When any crime falling under the types of cybercrime (computer crime) is committed, there is a wide variety of penalties that a criminal can be sentenced to, depending on the cybercrime laws in the jurisdiction in question. However, there are many factors to consider about the types of cybercrime and the cybercrime laws that apply. What was the cost of damages? Who or how many people were harmed? How was the victim violated and what do the cybercrime laws state about these violations? With the individual charges brought against the suspect, one must determine the individual penalties that he or she must adhere to in accordance with the applicable cybercrime laws.
 
 
For example, "computer fraud" is one of many types of cybercrimes that can be carried out and the penalties may depend on exactly what kind of computer fraud was committed based on cybercrime laws. Was it a high-profile case that involved Government officials, a big business, or millions in financial loss? Or was it just a simple case of an individual hacking into a friend's e-mail account? Was it his or her first offense? Or has this criminal been charged with other types of cybercrimes?
 
 
According to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the penalties that come with the charges of computer fraud can start in the range of five thousand dollars, to an undetermined financial amount (depending on the damages) and the criminal can be sentenced to years of jail time.
 
 
However, in a case of a cybercrime that directly affects the safety of the victim, the penalties may be considerably more serious. A good example of this kind of case and cybercrime would involve cyberstalking. Depending on how aggressive the stalker is and if the victim was actually harmed, the penalties for this cybercrime can range from a restraining order, to a copious amount of probation time, to hefty fines, and even up to years of sentenced jail time. If the cyberstalking progresses into an extremely heinous crime (i.e. rape, murder, etc.), then it is almost definite that the convicted party will be sentenced to jail time and possibly the death penalty.
 
 
Cybercrimes are carried out everyday and are punished according to the State and its cybercrime laws (not to mention the types of cybercrimes that were carried out).