With the rising numbers of internet users globally, there is much room for the perpetration of cyber crimes by anyone who is not thoroughly informed. Many people erroneously believe that cyber crimes are always intentional.
While some activities such as hacking people’s accounts or sending malware to an opponent’s systems may be intentional, there are a few seemingly harmless practices that may land you into great trouble or even get you jailed. Here are some of the cyber activities that you may not have realized are crimes.
What Are Some of the Cyber Crimes One May Accidentally Commit?
Depending on the cyber laws in your state or the federal law, several activities can be ranked as criminal offenses and even lead to prosecution. Whether you knew of its consequences or were ignorant of them, the law will still hold you accountable. You, therefore, need to stay informed to avoid trouble.
1. Unauthorized Access
Unauthorized access ranks as one of the most committed cyber crimes by internet users globally. This is because most users innocently access cyber resources without thinking twice about the legal ramifications.
Take, for instance, the last time you used free Wi-Fi from a connection meant for a particular group of people, such as Wi-Fi from a restaurant, without paying for their services. Innocent as it may seem, using their Wi-Fi without their consent could land you into trouble or even get you jailed.
2. Cyberharrasment and Cyberbullying
While interacting with people on the internet and on social media, you are prone to numerous disagreements or conflicts of opinion. Be careful, however, not to indulge in harassment in the process.
Some of the words you exchange in the heat of the moment may be considered cyberbullying, especially if they are racially, religiously, or gender discriminatory. Keep a level head and refrain from using threatening language.
In many states, child pornography is hands-down the most heinous cyber crime. Perpetrators are often heavily prosecuted whether they committed the crime intentionally or unintentionally. You are probably thinking yourself safe from such a crime; however, many internet users unknowingly download child pornography.
Such files are often disguised as pop-ups or random links at face value. It is best to be careful while surfing the internet and avoid suspicious-looking links. Always have your firewall up and running and check your computer regularly for downloaded files.
4. No Electronic Theft Act
According to the No Electronic Theft Act (NET Act), individuals who infringe copyright laws can be prosecuted even if they don’t stand to gain monetary profits from their infringement. This means that something as simple as ripping a copy of your favorite series can land you in prison and/or cost you fines of up to $250,000.
Before this law was passed in 1997, the copying of media was only illegal if you intended to make money from it. Today, it is illegal even to make a copy.
5. Digital Millennium Copyright Act
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act criminalizes the use of technology meant to circumvent security measures put in place for copyright protection. It does not matter if you did not infringe the actual copyrights. This includes copyright protection put in place for TV shows, music, or videos. Thrill hacking could actually land you in jail.
What to Do if You Are Accused of Cyber Crime
Even the most careful internet user may land into trouble for innocently committing one or more of the crimes above. When accused of such offenses, it could greatly help if you seek legal counsel from a professional criminal lawyer at the Chetson Firm.