OVERVIEW OF US FEDERAL LAWS
In general, a computer crime breaks federal
laws when it falls into one of these categories:
· It involves the theft or compromise
of national defense, foreign relations, atomic energy, or other
· It involves a computer owned by
a U.S. government department or agency.
· It involves a bank or most other
types of financial institutions.
· It involves interstate or foreign
· it involves people or computers
in other states or countries.
Of these offenses, the FBI ordinarily has
jurisdiction over cases involving national security, terrorism,
banking, and organized crime. The U.S. Secret Service has
jurisdiction whenever the Treasury Department is victimized or
whenever computers are attacked that are not under FBI or U.S.
Secret Service jurisdiction (e.g., in cases of password or access
code theft). In certain federal cases, the customs Department,
the Commerce Department, or a military organization, such as the
Air Force Office of Investigations, may have jurisdiction.
In the United States, a number of federal
laws protect against attacks on computers, misuse of passwords,
electronic invasions of privacy, and other transgressions.
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 is the main piece of
legislation that governs most common computer crimes, although
many other laws may be used to prosecute different types of computer
crime. The act amended Title 18 United States Code §1030.
It also complemented the Electronic Communications Privacy Act
of 1986, which outlawed the unauthorized interception of digital
communications and had just recently been passed. The Computer
Abuse Amendments Act of 1994 expanded the 1986 Act to address
the transmission of viruses and other harmful code.
In addition to federal laws, most of the
states have adopted their own computer crime laws. A number
of countries outside the United States have also passed legislation
defining and prohibiting computer crime.
THE BIG NO NOS
-- THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT FEDERAL CRIME LAWS
As mentioned above, the two most important
US federal computer crime laws are 18 USC: Chapter 47, Sections
1029 and 1030.
Section 1029 prohibits fraud and related
activity that is made possible by counterfeit access devices such
as PINs, credit cards, account numbers, and various types of electronic
identifiers. The nine areas of criminal activity covered
by Section 1029 are listed below. All *require* that the
offense involved interstate or foreign commerce.
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