Cyber Crime Laws – What’s the Real Deal?

Cyber LawOver two decades have passed since the wide world web made its grand appearance into the homes of people everywhere. Of course, the government had already been dipping their hands in it for quite some time, but even they were not aware of the true potential within this animal. They were undoubtedly caught with their pants down as cyber crime (which was a new word to the world at that time) began to manifest, placing attacks on the government, businesses and in the homes of the everyday modern family.

There are many types of cyber crime. Here is a list of some that you may or may have not heard about.

  • Identity Theft – Hackers and scammers may use fake emails to trick victims into giving up passwords and account information, or they may use specialized programs called keyloggers to track what a user types when logging into bank or credit accounts.
  • Transaction Fraud – A scammer may offer an item for sale through an auction site with no intention of delivering once he receives payment.
  • Advance Fee Fraud – Generally involves bilking victims out of money by promising them an eventual payoff. Generally done through a “you’ve won” type of email.
  • Hacking – Illegally circumventing security to access someone else’s computer system.
  • Piracy – The copying and distribution of programs, movies, music or other intellectual property without permission.
  • Other Crimes – The drug trade also has an online component, as dealers use alternative currencies and anonymous Web providers to peddle their wares.

So how do we fight Cyber Crime? What are the laws that protect us? Well, law enforcement agencies are only authorized to enforce the law within their jurisdictions. A police officer commissioned in California has no authority to arrest someone in Florida, the FBI doesn’t have the authority to arrest someone in Spain and so forth. So, jurisdictional issues always hold up the process.

In order to know how to handle these crimes effectively, there are many factors that need to be determined in order to bring these criminals to justice.

  • Branch of law – Is it criminal law, civil law or regulatory law
  • Type of case – This will determine which agency has assigned responsibility
  • Grade of offense – Based on severity
  • Monetary damages
  • Level of government – The good side to this is that an individual can be tried on one charge by the local sheriff’s department, hypothetically, and can then also be tried by the FBI as well without incurring double jeopardy

There is good news about beating these criminals at their own games. Computer forensics has come a long way, and there are tools available to investigators that allow them to examine digital evidence without tampering with it. Trained forensics examiners can reliably preserve data for presentation in court and even recover deleted data, and the legal system is evolving and new procedures are being adopted to deal with the special challenges presented by the nature of digital evidence. Furthermore, countries, as well as states within the U.S., are forming interjurisdictional task forces to deal with cybercrime that crosses state and national boundaries.

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