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1.Critically discuss the investigation and prosecution of on-line child abuse crime in the UK. Your discussion should include a comparison with the investigation and prosecution of on-line child abuse crime in one other country.

2.The Computer Misuse Act 1990 provides several offences involving the use of computers. In 2006 the Act was amended by sections 35-38 of the Police and Justice Act 2006. Discuss the offences under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and the 2006 amendments. Your discussion must include critical assessment of the Act in light of new computer technologies and the realities of computer crime investigative methodologies.

3.Discuss the European Convention on Cyber Crime; what is it and how effective is it? Your answer should include suggestions for improving the Convention and whether you believe the UK would benefit from adherence to it following exit from the EU.

4.Describe the structure and functioning of the UK legal system taking into account the part played by the EU. Your discussion must also include critical commentary on the UK Supreme Court and whether you believe the UK is better off governing its own legal affairs or not.

5.Computer fraud is said to have so many varieties that it defies definition. Select three forms of computer fraud; describe how these frauds are conducted and how they might be prosecuted in the UK.

6.Write about on-line piracy in the UK and the US; what type of property is stolen through on-line piracy and how do courts in the UK and US deal with offences involving on-line piracy?

7.Your friend Jane tells you that every day for two months she has been receiving text messages to her mobile phone; the messages say Jane is disgusting and ugly and include threats to come around and beat her up. What advice would you give Jane and what is the protection offered under UK law? Would your advice be different if Jane had received one such message?

8.Discuss and critically assess the continued importance of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Guidelines for the investigation of computer crime.

9.Discuss the legal and practical implications of the case of Jones v Kaney UKSC [2011]for professionals acting as expert witnesses in UK courts.

10.Discuss the practical and legal implications for computer scientists or software developers with regard to the work they produce and/or market following the case of Kingsway Hall Hotel Ltd.

11.The Computer Misuse Act 1990, section 3ZA provides, for example, for wrongful actions effecting the environment. Discuss the new offence and include critical assessment in light of the ability of computer professionals to adversely affect major aspects of life.

Offences created by Computer Misuse Act 1990

This report is critical analysis of Computer Misuse Act 1990. This act was passed in 1990 and it is an act of UK Parliament. The Computer Misuse Act is designed to frame rule and controls over computer crime and Internet fraud. Computer Crimes or Cyber-Crimes are increasing with the advancement of technology. Some people love to hack computer systems of others. Prior 90’s, no computer legislation was proposed to handle cyber-crimes such as hacking, phishing and other virus attacks. At that time everyone knew that it was wrong but nobody could do something. Due to this problem grew and then to control this a special legislation was made that can impeached hackers under the law. This special legislation was Computer Misuse Act 1990. There are some essential offences that covered under this act. The purpose of making this report is to discuss offences under the computer misuse act 1990, differentiation of offenses created by misuse act, demonstration of practical effect of the offences and identification of the difficulties of act’s applications taking account of new computer technologies and computer crime investigative methodologies.  All these essential points we will covered in next segments of this report in detail (InfoSec Resources, 2017).

In this segment of report, first of all we will emphasize on offences created by misuse act 1990 and its 2006 amendments.

Computer Misuse Act is divided into three offences that are listed as below:

  1. Unauthorized Access to Computer Material
  2. Unauthorized Access to resolve or facilitates commission of further offences.
  3. Modification of Computer Materials in unauthorized way (Computer misuse act 1990 c.18, 1990).

Unauthorized Access to Computer Material

It is the lowest level of offence and it is the one that many of may be tried at our workplace with our colleagues. If at our workplace we have ever been tried to find or guess someone else’ password to log into his/her system and look into his/her files, but do not make change, delete or damage anything then it is illegal and we will be guilty for accessing materials of someone without his/her permission. Due to this offence, there is chance of risk being sentenced in jail or hefty fine can also be paid by offender.(eHow UK, 2017). 

Unauthorized Access to resolve or facilitates commission of further offences

The main difference between this offence and previously discussed offence is that the access of someone else system by a person with purpose of doing wrong illegal. This illegal activity can be related steel or guess password of someone to get into his/her area of bank account. This can be conducted by them by trial and error method or by using special programs such as key logging software, spyware or new technique of phishing. This illegal activity might be performed by an individual to steal secrets of company or to transfer money of someone into bank account of his own. If anyone will catch to perform this offence, then for that person there will be risk of five year prison punishment or/and a hefty fine (Collier and Spaul, 1992). 

Modification of Computer Materials in Unauthorized Way

The main concern of this offence is with deletion or changes that are made in a file with intent to cause any damage to an individual or a company. Besides this, the insertion of virus into someone’s system to damage it, is also covered decisively in this offence. Therefore, we knowingly try to transmit virus into someone’s systems then we are guilty under this section of the Computer Misuse Act. The penalty for this offence is up to sentence for five years or/and hefty fine.

Unauthorized Access to Computer Material

In 2006, some essential amendments were done in this act that are essential to know. With the increment in penalties for offences under this act, the scope of Section 3 has expanded by Bill and completely a new offence is introduced. The main amendments are listed as below:

  1. According to first amendment, the penalty for section 1 and section 3 would increase from a maximum of six months to maximum of twelve month in prison or from maximum of five years to maximum of ten years (Google Books, 2017).
  2. The offence of section 3 would in future be dedicated by any kind of unauthorized act performed in relation to computer.
  3. A new section of 3A has also introduced and by this section various new offences were created that include making, adapting, supplying and offering for supplying an article that is designed to use in a computer misuse offence. Here article includes any program or data that is held in electronic form such as a computer password (Bird & Bird, 2017).

These above amendments are important and strictly followed by legal officials to punish offenders. The new section 3A has removed confusions and its creation is a much needed offence for the present day. But one thing about this section is that this new section 3A has been considered too broad by sections of IT industry.  However, it seems that by police and prosecutors, a common sense approach will take while applying a law. From above discussion about computer misuse act 1990 it is cleared that how these are different from each other in case of illegal actions taken by offenders. The misuse of computer in any kind of way such as hacking, data breaching, phishing etc. will be considered breaking of legislation of misuse of computer act 1990.

Now in next segment of this report we will discuss about practical effect of the offences created by the act.

According to analysis, we got to know that computer misuse act 1990 offences have different implications for individuals and groups such as gangs of hackers. According to three offenses, penalties for breaches can be severe. The practical effect of offenses of Computer Misuse Act 1990 are also considered as penalties that are listed as below:

  1. Effect of Section 1

This section is related to hacking. The summary penalty and indictment penalty are two effects of section 1. Here summary penalty is of up to 12 months in prison and/or fine up to the legal maximum. On another side, indictment penalty is up to 2 years in prison and/or fine will be up to legal maximum (Sqa.org.uk, 2017). 

  1. Effect of Section 3

This section is related to carrying out unauthorized acts in relation to a computer. The effect of this section is that it has summary penalty up to 12 months in prison and fine can be hefty. On another side, indictment penalty will be up to 10 years in prison or a fine will be paid by prison (Lexology.com, 2017). 

  1. Effect of Section 3A

This section is concerned with making, supplying and obtaining article. The effect of this section is that summary penalty is up to 12 months in prison and/or fine will be maximum legally. On another side, indictment penalty is up to 2 years in prison and/or a fine will be paid by prison (Wiki.openrightsgroup.org, 2017).

These are some impacts of offences of computer misuse act 1990 that will be encountered by every offender who will perform a wrong activity on someone else’s computer without his/her permission. These amendments were done according to new threats of cyber-crimes that are implemented by hackers. Now, further with development of new computer technologies and computer crime investigation methodologies some difficulties are encountered by applications of the computer misuse act 1990 (Team, 2017).

If we talk about current situation of computer industry then we can say that hacking has increased both at extents of hobby and professionals levels and various high profile cases of hacking and another virus attacks have encountered by computer users. Most of the offenders are found from another countries where no equivalent legislation is followed. Besides this, various international task forces are set up but no real progress is found. These are some common difficulties that applications of computer misuse act 1990 has encountered. Besides these difficulties, there are also some another difficulties or problems exist that are faced by computer misuse act 1990. Those problems or difficulties and their results are discussed as below (Teach-ict.com, 2017):

  • Broadness
  • Denial of Service Attack
  • Wide Application Area of Computer (Complianceandprivacy.com, 2017)

Unauthorized Access to resolve or facilitates commission of further offences

Broadness

With the advancement in new technologies, users of computers and other IT devices such as smart phones etc. are increasing. Due to this, activities of hackers are also enhanced to access data from these devices, especially information of bank accounts to get money (WhatIs.com, 2017). That is why, to investigate these vulnerable activities of hackers, different computer crime investigation methodologies are developed by security professionals. The advancement of these new technologies cause difficulties for computer misuse act 1990 in form of broadness of computer misuse act 1990. It is argued that this act is too broad. Due to this, it has been losing its effectiveness and do not consider more useful. This law does not have all legislations to stop computer abuse.

Vulnerable Computer attacks are not covered  

There are various vulnerable computer attacks conducted by hackers such as Denial of Service Attack, Malware Attacks etc. With technology advancement, these attacks are increasing. But in computer misuse act 1990, denial of service attack is bot covered which is most harmful attack for computer users. Denial of Service (DoS) are efforts performed by hackers to prevent computer users from using services for which they have access. To perform this, various activities are used by hackers such as flooded network with information that will cause network shut down and no one can access that network. Various other cyber-attacks are similar to DoS and all those cannot be covered by computer misuse act 1990 (Sqa.org.uk, 2017). 

Wide Application Area of Computer

As we know that area of computer is so wide and it consists of so many applications in it, their security and privacy issues and their related cyber-attacks. Therefore, it is difficult for computer misuse act 1990 to cover legislation for all cyber issues of these applications. It is a major difficulty for computer misuse act 1990. That is why various important cyber-attacks are left for which no legislation is defined in this act.

Conclusion 

After this whole discussion we can say that computer misuse act 1990 is effective to handle some casual cases of cybercrimes that are easy to control. For this type of cases, effective laws, penalties are mentioned in act. But as we have discussed above that problem of hacking attack is increasing and it has become difficult to amend laws for these crimes in act. That is why it is necessary to make improvements at legal level and more effective laws are required to make, so that cybercrimes can be strictly sentenced for their offence. The weakness of computer crime legislation, acts and penalties lead to increment of issues of cyber-crime. In this case, according to researchers, it is better to use advanced security tools and techniques such as antivirus, monitoring tools and other anti-hacking tools to get rid of problem of hacking and data breaching. These tools are so much effective to use as compare to computer crime acts. The need of computer misuse act 1990 or any other acts like this will be reduced with proper use of security tools by developers and users. There is only need to maintain security and privacy at developers and users ends. Developers should be aware about new security patches and techniques that can control cyber-crimes properly.

References 

InfoSec Resources. (2017). Computer Crime Investigation Using Forensic Tools and Technology. [online] Available at: https://resources.infosecinstitute.com/computer-crime-investigation-using-forensic-tools-and-technology/#gref [Accessed 12 May 2017].

Computer misuse act 1990 c.18. (1990). Computer Law & Security Review, 6(3), p.16.

eHow UK. (2017). Problems with the computer misuse act | eHow UK. [online] Available at: https://www.ehow.co.uk/list_7373521_problems-computer-misuse-act.html [Accessed 12 May 2017].

Collier, P. and Spaul, B. (1992). Problems in policing computer crime. Policing and Society, 2(4), pp.307-320.

Google Books. (2017). Computer Misuse. [online] Available at: https://books.google.co.in/books?id=6mVnlSfsxSQC&pg=PA66&lpg=PA66&dq=difficulties+encountered+by+computer+misuse+act+1990&source=bl&ots=DYMSy8qjXJ&sig=Heg25-pv_oxdzdjuzO0u03eosoQ&hl=en&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=0ahUKEwjj9OeYqerTAhUFMo8KHbDwAdsQ6AEIRzAG#v=onepage&q=difficulties%20encountered%20by%20computer%20misuse%20act%201990&f=false [Accessed 12 May 2017].

Sqa.org.uk. (2017). SAQs. [online] Available at: https://www.sqa.org.uk/e-learning/ProfIssues02CD/page_26.htm [Accessed 12 May 2017].

Bird & Bird. (2017). Amendments to the Computer Misuse Act proposed by the Police and Justice Bill. [online] Available at: https://www.twobirds.com/en/news/articles/2006/police-and-justice-bill [Accessed 12 May 2017].

Lexology.com. (2017). Changes to the Computer Misuse Act | Lexology. [online] Available at: https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=84d37161-052e-4c40-b97d-408321679364 [Accessed 12 May 2017].

Complianceandprivacy.com. (2017). Computer Misuse Act 1990 | Police and Justice Act 2006 | Eversheds e80 | Compliance | Privacy. [online] Available at: https://complianceandprivacy.com/News-Eversheds-e80-Computer-misuse-act.html [Accessed 12 May 2017].

Wiki.openrightsgroup.org. (2017). Police and Justice Act 2006 - ORG Wiki. [online] Available at: https://wiki.openrightsgroup.org/wiki/Police_and_Justice_Act_2006#The_Amendments [Accessed 12 May 2017].

Team, E. (2017). Computer Misuse Act 1990. [online] E RADAR. Available at: https://www.eradar.eu/computer-misuse-act-1990/ [Accessed 12 May 2017].

Teach-ict.com. (2017). Teach-ICT AS Level ICT OCR exam board - data protection act. [online] Available at: https://www.teach-ict.com/as_a2_ict_new/ocr/AS_G061/317_role_impact_ict/computer_misuse_act/miniweb/pg5.htm [Accessed 12 May 2017].

WhatIs.com. (2017). What is Computer Misuse Act 1990 (CMA)? - Definition from WhatIs.com. [online] Available at: https://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/Computer-Misuse-Act-1990-CMA [Accessed 12 May 2017].

Sqa.org.uk. (2017). Offence 1. [online] Available at: https://www.sqa.org.uk/e-learning/ITLaw01CD/page_06.htm [Accessed 12 May 2017].

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[Accessed 24 July 2024].

My Assignment Help. 'Critical Analysis Of Computer Misuse Act 1990' (My Assignment Help, 2021) <https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/ctec1412-law-ethics-and-portfolio/computer-materials-in-unauthorized-way.html> accessed 24 July 2024.

My Assignment Help. Critical Analysis Of Computer Misuse Act 1990 [Internet]. My Assignment Help. 2021 [cited 24 July 2024]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/ctec1412-law-ethics-and-portfolio/computer-materials-in-unauthorized-way.html.

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