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Hacking Laws

What is hacking?

Hacking is where a person finds a weakness in a computer network and begins exploiting the system. Though, in a lot of cases, the term can refer to someone with an advance understanding of computer systems and computer networks and this is often called computer hacking. People who hack into computers are called hackers. Hackers are often motivated by many reasons, such as, to gain a profit, to protest something, or just for the challenge of doing it. In controversy, the term hacker has been reclaimed by computer programmers who would argue that someone who breaks into a computer would better be referred to as crackers. The difference between a computer criminal and security experts is the terms in which they are referred to. A computer criminal is called a black hat while a computer security expert is called a white hat. In some cases, white hat hackers claim that they also deserve the title of hacker while their criminal counter parts or black hats deserve to be called crackers.

Who would a person report a crime of hacking to?

The person would need to contact his/her local authorities and report the hacking crime to them. If reporting the crime to the local authorities fails, then he/she can contact their local FBI agency or Internet Crime Complaint Center and report the crime to them. It is considered a crime to hack into a computer or phone line and the investigators of the crime will try and locate the source of the hacking and person responsible.

How would a person initiate a criminal process to charge a ex-spouse with hacking into his/her email account?

The criminal process in which the victim will have to go through is a lot easier than any civil process. The victim of the hacking would need to report the hacking to law enforcement and the state would handle the prosecution. The victim may need to testify at the trial, but beyond that they generally do not have much to do with the prosecution of the crime. But to initiate the criminal process the victim would file a complaint with law enforcement. When it comes to computer crimes, such as hacking, a victim may try to contact both local and federal law enforcement officials, due to both federal and state laws may have been violated.

If a 15 year old minor is questioned for hacking, can the police use the statement against him/her since no parent or guardian was present?

The police can advise a minor of his/her right to remain silent and question him/her without the parents there. The only thing that may come into question is the issue of whether or not the minor understood these rights when they were read to him/her. The judge will determine, through evidence of the situation, if the minor child indeed understood these rights and then determine of the confession can or cannot be used.

Under Pennsylvania hacking law, does a person have to prove malicious intent to file charges of hacking?

According to Pennsylvania statute Section 7611;

“A person commits the offense of unlawful use of a computer if he: (1) accesses or exceeds authorization to access, alters ,damages or destroys any computer, computer system, computer network, computer software, computer program, computer database, World Wide Web site or telecommunication device or any part thereof with the intent to interrupt the normal functioning of a person or to devise or execute any scheme or artifice to defraud or deceive or control property or services by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises; (2) intentionally and without authorization accesses or exceeds authorization to access, alters, interferes with the operation of, damages or destroys any computer, computer system, computer network, computer software, computer program, computer database, World Wide Web site or telecommunication device or any part thereof; or (3) intentionally or knowingly and without authorization gives or publishes a password, identifying code, personal identification number or other confidential information about a computer, computer system, computer network, computer database, World Wide Web site or telecommunication device.”

So according to the statute on hacking, no, the person would not have to prove malicious intent to file hacking charges.

Whether the person is a victim of a hacker or hacking, or they are the person who is considered to be the hacker or the one that is hacking, questions and concerns may arise that they need advice for. Consulting an Expert would be in the person’s best interest to clear up the questions and confusion that he/she may run across.
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