Cyber crimes are often referred to as computer crimes, which involve unlawful acts related to computers, web networks, and digital technology. The Florida Computer Crimes Act has the objective of contextualizing these crimes, dividing the unlawful acts into two categories:
- Crimes against intellectual property:
Intellectual property is the information or documentation of someone´s work. Any offense against intellectual property is considered a third-degree felony and is punishable by up to five years in prison, and a $5,000 fine. However, the crime can be charged as a second-degree felony if the offense is committed with the intention of devising or executing a scheme or artifice to obtain or defraud any property.
A person who willfully, knowingly and without authorization does any of the following acts commits a crime against intellectual property:
- Contaminates, modifies, or renders unavailable data, programs, or documentation existing internal or external to a computer, computer system, electronic device, or computer network.
- Destroys data or an individual´s computer programs and documents.
- Discloses or takes information that is confidential or a trade secret.
- Crimes against computer users
An individual commits an offense against users of computers, computer networks, computer systems, or electronic devices if they knowingly, willfully, and without authorization:
- Access or cause to be accessed a third-party´s computer without permission, especially by hacking passwords and firewalls.
- Deny or cause the denial of the ability to transmit data to or from an authorized user.
- Takes an individual´s computer and damages it or injures the equipment or supplies used in a computer.
- Introduces any computer contaminant into any computer, computer system, computer network, or electronic device.
- Engages in any sort of surveillance on another´s computer without their permission.
Defenses to Computer Crime Charges.
There are two primary defenses in computer crime cases:
- Authorization: When an individual gives permission of authority over a computer program or network to another, it can be argued that the defendant did not participate in unlawful activities.
- Lack of knowing participation: If the defendant was working for someone else, and ended up participating in an illegal computer crime, it can be argued that the offender did not know that´s what they were asked to do.
If convicted, computer or cyber crimes can lead to severe punishments. It is important that you get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney, who will protect your rights throughout the process. Give Russell Spatz a call today to get started on your case at 305-442-0200, or contact his Miami-Dade County law firm online to schedule a consultation.