Computer Crimes and Federal Law
Laws concerning computer crimes have been enacted at both the state and federal levels. In 1986, Congress passed the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). This law has been amended and expanded as internet technology has advanced, and it continues to form the basis for federal prosecutions of computer-related criminal activities.
Other Federal Statutes
- Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA),
- Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act of 2008 (ITERA),
- Certain provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act.
Computer Crime Laws in Washington State
Washington computer crime laws prohibit the intentional access of a computer network in order to commit fraud, larceny, or damage the computer. Many computer crimes are committed as a means of stealing money or valuable information.
Other Types of Computer Crimes
Cyber crimes are not simply reserved for fraud or identity theft-related activities. Computer crimes can encompass a broad range of activities including using an electronic device (like a computer, tablet, or Smartphone) to harm, defraud or threaten another person, to solicit minors, or cyberbullying.
How Can I Help Prevent Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying has become a wide-spread problem over the past several years. There are ways you can help lessen the chances of your child becoming a victim.
- Establish rules about appropriate use of computers, cell phones, and other technology. Be clear about what sites they can visit and what they are permitted to do when they’re online. Show them how to be safe online.
- Help them be smart about what they post or say. Tell them not to share anything that could hurt or embarrass themselves or others.
- Encourage your children to tell you immediately if they, or someone they know, is being cyberbullied. Explain that you will not take away their computers or cell phones if they confide in you about a problem they are having.
The following chart highlights the basics of Washington’s computer crime laws. See FindLaw’s Cyber Crimes section for additional articles and resources.
|Code Section||9A.52.110, et seq.|
|Mental State Required for Prosecution||Intentionally|
|Misdemeanor Computer Crimes||Computer trespass in second degree is a gross misdemeanor|
|Felony Computer Crimes||Computer trespass in first degree is class C felony|
|Attempt Considered a Crime?||No|
|Civil Lawsuit Permitted?||No|
Note: Washington computer crimes laws are constantly changing to keep up with the fast pace of technology–contact a Washington criminal defense attorney, education lawyer or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Research the Law
- Washington Law
- Official State Codes – Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and DC.
Washington Computer Crimes Laws: Related Resources