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Home > Free Security Articles > Resource Articles > Internet Liability September 21, 2017


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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 anyone.

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 fines.

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.

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