• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Computer Misuse Offences

Extracts from this document...


Computer Misuse Offences The Computer Misuse Act created three new offences in response to the Law Commission Working Paper No. 186, on Criminal Law: Computer Misuse (Cm 819), published in October 1989. Even before the Act, dishonest computer activities were quite well-covered by the criminal law, and in particular by theft, and related offences. A common type of computer fraud involves gaining unauthorized access in order to transfer funds to one's own account, or that of a friend. Another common variety is to use a forged bank card to obtain money from a cash dispenser. Because only the computer is deceived, it is probable that neither of these activities amounts to obtaining property by deception, since there is authority that that offence requires deception of a human mind. Nevertheless, it is clear that this type of fraud has always constituted theft. Computers can also be used to commit the offence of blackmail, for example where a computer virus is introduced to a system (for example a time bomb, whose purpose is to corrupt or delete stored information after the lapse of a period of time), accompanied later by threats that some or all the files on the system will be corrupted unless a sum of money is paid into a particular account. ...read more.


In particular, hacking was not a criminal offence, and while unauthorized users may well, in using the computer, commits other offences, there were greater evidential difficulties in prosecuting such offences than in the case of non-computer crime. Nor was the deliberate creation of computer viruses a criminal offence. The least serious new offence, to be found in s. 1 of the Act, makes hacking criminal, whether or not any harm is intended. Thus, even hacking out of curiosity, of for the challenge of breaking through a security system, is covered, so long as the hacker is aware that his access is unauthorized. The offence is triable summarily, and is punishable by a maximum of six months' imprisonment and/or �2,000 fine. While s. 1 is aimed at unauthorized access, it is not necessary actually to gain access, attempted accessing also falling within the section. It is necessary only to cause 'a computer to perform any function with intent to secure access', so that, for example, an attempt to log on, which is rejected by the computer, falls within the section. ...read more.


In each case the s. 2 offence is committed as soon as the hacker 'causes a computer to perform any function' with the requisite intent. This could be long before the offences respectively of attempted theft and attempted blackmail are committed. The s. 3 offence, which carries the same maximum penalty as s. 2, is aimed at those who introduce worms and viruses to computer systems. If the physical condition of the computer is impaired, whether intentionally or recklessly, an offence under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 may also be committed. Section 3 covers non-tangible damage, which is now (by s. 3(6) expressly excluded from the Criminal Damage Act, but intention is required (as defined in s. 3(2)-(4). Recklessness is not sufficient. As explained above, the removal of Criminal Damage Act liability by s. 3(6), except where the computer is physically damaged, probably represents a change in the law. An omission from s. 3 is that it does not, at any rate directly, cover the professional virus writer, who does not directly introduce viruses on to computer systems, but distributes them in book, or other printed form. He or she may possibly be guilty of incitement to commit an offence under s. 3, however. ?? ?? ?? ?? Craig Lloyd 1 5/9/2007 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Law section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Law essays

  1. Petrol excise should not be excluded

    Besides, most people donate money to make themselves feel good about contributing. We can continue our current foreign aid budget but there is really no point in wasting the extra increase when many politicians just steal it. We are paying them millions of dollars to be hidden in Swiss banks

  2. The Inchoate (Incomplete) Offences - Essay Notes

    those used by the police radar traps designed to catch speeding motorists. They advertised the product in a motoring magazine, the advertisement showing a road with a speed limit sign, seen through a car windscreen. The court held that this was an implied incitement to use the device without a license, constituting an offence under the WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY ACT 1949.

  1. What is an indictable offence and how is it brought to trial?

    These proposals have not yet been put into effect. At the start of the trial, a jury is empanelled and sworn. The prosecution or defence can object to a particular juror for good cause, but there is no voir dire and no peremptory challenge.

  2. Why was an allowance system introduced in Staffordshire in 1811?

    Both making him useless to his family Another factor, which could have lead to their being such a high number of paupers in 1811, was the high price of wheat. This was mainly due to the Napoleanic blockades, which stopped Britain importing wheat from abroad.

  1. The Law Relating to Negotiable Instruments

    It is indeed a negotiable instrument payable to bearer; where it is indorsed in full, it ceases to be a bearer Hundi. * Jokhami Hundi A Jokhami Hundi is drawn by the consignor of goods on the consignee against the goods shipped on the ship mentioned in the Hundi.

  2. Criminal Law (Offences against the person) - revision notes

    This means that the judge can give any suitable sentence (even as low as community service) * This conviction will be treated as any other conviction and not murder and therefore will allow the defendant to be released early for good behavior or parole.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work