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Computer Legislation Assignment

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Introduction

Jason Agar-Hutton 20th October 2002 Computer Legislation Assignment Computer Misuse Act 1990 The Computer Misuse Act 1990 states that it is illegal to obtain unauthorised access to any computer or to modify its contents. Three criminal offences are defined in the act, namely: Unauthorised access to computer material, Unauthorised modification of computer material; and Unauthorised access with intent to commit, or facilitate commission, of further offences. Hacking A hacker is a computer enthusiast who tries to break into a secure computer system. The process of doing this is called 'hacking'. However, a big misunderstanding in the world is that most 'hackers' usually work for big companies, such as IBM, Microsoft and Apple, or even governmental organizations such as the Pentagon or the FBI to improve computer security. People who break into secure systems with intent of doing harm to its owners, users or any other third party group are known as 'crackers'. These individuals often partake in petty computer-related crimes, such as vandalism or tagging. However, sometimes crackers may be skilled enough to shut down network servers, implant viruses into computer networks or even change financial, governmental and security databases such as bank accounts. ...read more.

Middle

* Transferring disks between machines is always dangerous, so this should be avoided whenever possible. * Many companies have a single computer connected to the Internet for downloading the latest releases of software, printer drivers, etc. rather than using a file server, which is crucial to the operation of a business. * Keep daily backups of all your data. Data Protection Act 1998 In 1984, the huge increase of computers being used to store personal data led to the government initiating the Data Protection Act. Another reason why the law was introduced was that most of the other EC members had laws regarding data protection, and it was considered necessary for the United Kingdom to create a similar act to allow free passage of personal data from one member state to another, which was essential for conducting business. This law was then updated in 1998 which basically included laws concerning data being processed over the Internet. The main purpose of the Act is to prevent the misuse of personal data and give rights to the individuals whom the information relates. If information stored about them is incorrect, then the data subjects may be able to claim against the data controller for reasons of distress or financial loss. ...read more.

Conclusion

* The Data Controller - The individual in a company/organisation who is given the responsibility of controlling the way in which personal data is processed. * The Commissioner - The Commissioner is the person who is responsible for: 1.) Enforcing the Act. 2.) Promoting good practice by the people who are responsible for the processing of personal data, 3.) Making the general public aware of their rights under the Act. Software Piracy Software piracy is the illegal copying of computer software. It is reckoned that piracy costs the software industry �3,000 million every year. In 1989, the government decided that software piracy was a threat to society, and so they created a new Act, named The Copyright, Design and Patents Act. The Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1989 The Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1989 makes it a criminal offence to copy or steal software. Under the Act it is an offence to copy or distribute software, or any manuals that come with it, without permission or license from the copyright owner. It is also an offence to run purchased software covered by copyright on two or more machines at the same time, unless the license specifically allows it. The Act also makes it illegal for an organisation to encourage, allow, compel, or pressure its employees to make or distribute copies of illegal software by the organisation. ...read more.

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