Internet Crimes: Definition and Penalties

May 9, 2022 by No Comments

An Internet crime, or cybercrime, refers to any illegal practice that involves the use of a computer or network, or that targets a computer or network. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, its key priorities regarding cybercrime are: computer intrusion, online predators, hacking, and fraud. Computer intrusion costs individuals and businesses billions of dollars each year. By breaking into personal computers, laptops, and networks, hackers can disrupt and sometimes permanently damage vital computer systems. Reasons for computer intrusion range from personal information theft to illegal business practices and terrorism.

Child pornography and online predators are another major focus of the FBI. The National Innocent Images Initiative is part of its CyberCrime Program and is dedicated to combating the spread of child pornography online. It is against federal and state law to make, possess, sell, or distribute any pornographic material that contains minors. Although every state is different, even possession of an image can lead to five years in prison. As one of the fastest growing crimes on the Internet, it can be used for a number of purposes. Pedophiles see it, but others use it to groom children for child prostitution, an act known as child grooming. 18 USC Chapter 110, Sexual Exploitation and Other Abuse of Children, states that offenders can be punished by fifteen years in federal prison.

One crime that has attracted a great deal of media attention is that of piracy: the theft of intellectual property. Intellectual property includes: music, books, movies, art, inventions, phrases, designs, and more. Materials that are protected by copyright or trademarks are illegal to copy or distribute without permission. Penalties for piracy vary depending on the number of copies or distributed. The FBI has been working to educate the public about the seriousness of this crime and the fact that it is theft.

Finally, another widespread crime on the Internet is fraud. Fraud is a broad category of crimes that involve dishonest acts. When a misrepresentation occurs on the Internet, it becomes a cybercrime. The most common reason for fraud is monetary gain and can be civil or criminal in nature, depending on state law. The main types of fraud are: identity theft, credit card fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and securities fraud.

If you have been charged with any type of Internet crime, it is strongly recommended that you speak with a legal professional as soon as possible. Since these crimes can be investigated by government agencies, you need a strong legal representative on your side. Time is of the essence, so don’t wait to get the help you need.

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