Cybercrime and cyberterrorism are all the rage in the media these days. It is very easy to run afoul of computer-related laws if you don’t make yourself aware of where the legal lines are drawn. You have your standard offenses like larceny or fraud, like using a computer to steal money or information. But sometimes how you commit a crime can easily influence your punishment. Additionally, many people may engage in conduct that they view as harmless, but is, in fact, a serious offense.
You implicate federal law when your crime crosses state lines. This can generally be interpreted broadly to include anything that may touch state lines, like federal interstates or the Internet. This is how many people find themselves before a federal rather than state court.
You could possibly be suspected of having committed a computer crime for engaging in innocent activities like:
- Using a friend’s login at work to quickly check something. Improper access of a computer or network is a crime.
- Introducing a virus into a computer system. Even if you accidentally introduced a virus into a computer system, you could possibly be the subject of an investigation.
- Making copies of files at work or trying to run a recovery program. If your employer restricts or controls the flow of information, downloading some docs onto your USB drive could land you in serious trouble.
There are many more possibilities. You may have even noticed an act or two that you have already committed mentioned above, demonstrating how easy it could be for someone to come under suspicion of computer-related criminal activity.
If you find yourself the subject of one of these investigations, retaining a defense attorney is probably a good idea. Just because you know you’re innocent does not mean anyone else will.