One can think about “computer crimes” in two different ways. One definition would include whatever crimes a state has lumped within a statutory scheme as “computer crime”; the other would include any crime that involves the use of a computer. This article will discuss common offenses that meet both definitions from the perspective of a New York White Collar Crimes Attorney.
Crimes Involving Use of a Computer
New York can charge someone with a variety of “real world” crimes even if done by computer. One regular example – which is presently in front of the United States Supreme Court – is aggravated harassment (making threats to harm). These threats are often taken just as seriously if done by email, social media, or text as they would be if done in person. A New York white collar crimes lawyer will know how to pursue discovery to see if there is adequate proof as to who sent an electronic communication, as well as whether the statement was a “true threat.” Another example is the use of another person’s credit card over the Internet without permission. This is just as much of a theft as in-person use, but involves the additional evidentiary issue of from whose IP address the order came, as well as many other issues.
Crimes Labeled Computer Crimes
Computer crimes narrowly considered are the offenses listed under New York Penal Law Article 150. These crimes relate to accessing computer systems and go up in seriousness of penalty starting with the unauthorized viewing, to manipulation, to destruction of data that the actor did not have a reasonable belief they were entitled to access.
Usually, the fundamental element that the State needs to prove was that the access was “without authorization.” This can get fuzzy. Did your roommate leave his laptop open in the living room, and you looked through his open email? Maybe the two of you know each other well and this would typically be fine; maybe, though, you should have known that this was not authorized. Other fact patterns have to do with sensitive data at information-based businesses. The fact that a log-in password allows one access to data doesn’t necessarily mean that one is free to manipulate that data. These are serious questions that one would need an experienced New York white collar crimes attorney to answer if charged with such an offense.
If you have been or believe you will be charged with a computer crime offense, don’t wait. Contact the Law Offices of Frederick L. Sosinsky by calling (212) 285-2770 today.