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Computer Crime Laws

What is computer crime?

Computer crime is any crime that involves a computer and a network. The computer may be used to commit a crime or it can be the target of a crime. Types of computer crime may refer to cracking, copyright infringement, child grooming, and child pornography. The law is also having issues with internationally, both governmental and non-state actors that engage in cybercrimes such as espionage, financial theft, and other cross-border crimes.

In the state of California, can a person sit outside of another person’s house and use his/her internet connection or access the person’s information on their computer and is this considered a computer crime?

Regardless if the person is using the wireless internet or accessing the information on the person’s computer, this is considered to be a computer crime in the state of California. In order for the prosecutor to charge the person who is committing such crimes, they would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person was sitting outside the house using the wireless net or accessing the computer. If the owner of the computer sees the person sitting outside his/her house, then he/she would need to call the police and report the person so that the police can see what exactly the person is doing.

Can a person be jailed or charged with a crime if they look at a email that is left open on their own computer by the other person?

Since the computer was owned by the person and the other person left his/her email up then in most cases this is not considered a crime. It would have been considered a crime of the person hacked into or got the information in another way, but since it was the person’s property that the other person used and then didn’t properly shut down, he/she most likely wouldn’t be charged.

If a person accesses another person’s Facebook account and then was arrested and charged with the computer crime, will the judge take it serious and how would they prove that it was the person that was arrested?

Computer hacking is considered to be a type of computer crime and can very well be taken serious. When the investigators start to compile evidence, they can tract the person’s IP address to see where and when he/she accessed the Facebook account. They would have to prove that the IP address belongs to the accused person by tracking the IP address through the internet provider or confiscating his/her computer and obtaining the IP address from there.

In the state of South Carolina, can a person be charged with a computer crime if he/she takes a laptop that belongs to a spouse, to a lawyer without permission?

According to the South Carolina statute regarding computer crimes;

“b) A person is also guilty of computer crime in the second degree where: (ii) he deprives the owner of possession of, or takes, transfers, conceals, or retains possession of any computer, data, computer property, or computer-related property, including all parts of a computer, computer system, computer network, computer software, computer services, or information associated with a computer, whether in a tangible or intangible form; (c) Computer crime in the second degree is a misdemeanor and, upon conviction for a first offense, a person must be fined not more than ten thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year, or both. Upon conviction for a second or subsequent offense, a person is guilty of a misdemeanor and must be fined not more than twenty thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”

The person that owns the laptop can get a hold of the DA and file charges against the spouse, but there may be a issue of if the spouses both owned the computer which then may cause a issue of who had rights to the laptop and who didn’t.

When a person uses a computer to commit any type of crime, it is considered to be a computer crime and can be a very serious offense. If a person is charged with a computer crime, they need to consult an Expert to answer any questions as to how they would need to proceed.
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