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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77952 Find in a Library
Title: Legal Problems of Computer Abuse
Journal: Washington University Law Quarterly  Issue:3  Dated:(Summer 1977)  Pages:527-540
Author(s): S H Nycum
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 10
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: An analysis of over 500 reported incidents of computer crime formed the basis of this description of the major forms of computer-related crime and the legal issues associated with each type of crime.
Abstract: In the past 5 years, losses from computer crime have increased to an average of $10 million per year. The four major types of computer crime are injury to computer hardware and system software, injury to computerized data and applications programs, injury in which the computer was the perpetrating device, and cases in which the computer was used for intimidation or deception. The more sophisticated crimes have involved the compromising computer processes themselves, while the greatest financial losses have been produced from alterations of input or output data. The offenders are generally between 18 and 46 years of age, highly intelligent, verbal, and eager. Many consider their acts to be an intellectual challenge. Acts directed at computer equipment can be viewed using familiar legal principles, since these assets are tangible personal property. However, the alteration or destruction of software does not entail injury to a physical entity and thus is difficult to handle using traditional criminal law terms. A similar problem can arise in cases involving thefts of computer time or computer services. These problems led Senator Ribicoff to introduce Federal legislation which would make it a felony to access certain computer systems to take money or services or to alter or damage those computer systems. Privacy laws have addressed the problem of abuse of personal information contained in computer files. State legislation is needed to match the proposed Federal legislation designed to combat computer-related crime. A total of 17 footnotes are included.
Index Term(s): Computer abuse; Computer related crime; Legislation
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