Everyday computer crimes you may not realize are illegal

On Behalf of | Aug 27, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Many people have a certain idea in mind when they think about computer hacking. They likely think of how it looks in the movies, with someone running sophisticated software to break through passwords and firewalls. They know that this is illegal because that person is gaining unauthorized access to a system.

But the reality is that legal prohibitions extend far beyond this type of hacking, and the events shown in the movies often aren’t realistic as to what hacking even looks like. Oftentimes, unlawful hacking simply means obtaining a password from a prohibited source or using software that will automatically work on breaking a system. For this reason, there are some events that are technically illegal that people may not realize are violations of the law. Below are two examples that illustrate how easily something unlawful hacking can happen.

Reading someone else’s email

It is illegal to read someone else’s email messages without their permission. There was even a case where a man was arrested for reading the emails on his wife’s phone. He was close to going to jail, but it turned out that his wife had also read the messages on his phone, so neither of them were incarcerated. But this case helps to show that gaining unauthorized access to someone’s private account is unlawful. It doesn’t matter if the person doing it considers reading someone else’s emails to be a “minor” event. It doesn’t even matter if the people are married. It is still technically a violation of the law unless the account holder has granted the reader explicit permission to access their account.

Accessing someone’s social media

Unlawful access of another individual’s social media accounts is also unlawful. This could be done maliciously, but it is also often done between friends, roommates, coworkers or other people who know each other. Some people may think that it’s just a joke to “hack” into someone else’s social media and post a compromising status, but it is technically a violation of technology laws.

These laws are somewhat outdated, and they are always being changed as technology evolves. As a result, those who have been accused of violating the law should seek legal guidance promptly to begin building a defense strategy that is strong in the face of the unique ins and outs of their particular circumstances.