Is Internet Use Going to Get You Sent to Jail?
Karl Schofield's PC was infected through e-mail, or possibly one of
those annoying pop-ups. The Trojan then went out to the Internet and
downloaded pornographic pictures of children, and he got pulled into
court. After hiring expert witnesses, spending his own money and
time, suffering vigilante attacks, having to move away from his home,
he was able to convince the court to let him off. It could happen to
Hackers, and their victims, are getting pulled into court -- as defendants.
Governments worldwide are cracking down hard on cyber-crime. A 22 year
old former Boston University student, Douglas Boudreau, was convicted
in early April 2003 of 'interception of wire communications,
unauthorized access to a computer system, larceny, identity fraud,'
and other charges. He is facing five years of probation, computer
monitoring, and having to pay back the money he misappropriated.
In Pennsylvania another 22 year old is facing federal charges for
allegedly hacking into a computer and stealing PayPal account
information. Jason Starr is said to have used a computer at Erie
Business College to break into a server located in Missouri. If
convicted he faces up to a year in prison, and up to $100,000 in
Information Theft Can Get You Into Jail
The users of Napster, Gnutella, and other Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks
face new legal problems daily. The Recording Industry Association of
America (RIAA) has sued Verizon to get information regarding
home-based DSL users. In the suit, the RIAA requested the right to
subpoena the identity of a Verizon user who is thought to have been
involved with violation of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The RIAA won. Then Verizon filed an appeal. The Justice Department
filed a brief siding with the RIAA.
People downloading copyrighted music from the Internet are breaking
the law, according to the RIAA. The RIAA's position has, so far, been
backed up by US Federal Courts.
Businesses who do not take reasonable measures to ensure that the
illegal sharing of copyrighted materials does not occur face criminal
and civil action. Fines of $150,000 per incident can be levied thanks
to the DMCA. Fines can easily accrue into the millions of dollars.
Parents of children who are sharing copyrighted materials may face the
same penalties. Even if you, or your children, are not purposely
downloading illegal materials you may face the same fate as Karl
Schofield. Hopefully the court will find you not guilty, too.