One of the most controversial and rapidly changing areas of the law includes crimes involving computers. The proliferation of Internet-connected devices and social media has created a large and active ecosystem of new ways to take advantage of people. In some areas, the law has yet to catch up to these new abilities; in others, the law carries very stiff penalties.
Successfully investigating and prosecuting cybercrime can be difficult because the same technology that makes it easy to commit these crimes also makes it easy to anonymize them. Most cybercrimes are federal offenses, which at least gives law enforcement certain tools and powers of enforcement they can use to prosecute. If you have been charged with a computer crime, make sure you talk to your New York criminal defense attorney about what they entail and what the law requires.
Crimes Against Children
Child predators have found that the Internet can be an effective tool for luring minors and gaining their trust in inappropriate, sometimes sexual relationships. Sometimes these relationships happen entirely over the Internet, but in others, the adult may try to initiate a physical meeting. This broadly falls under child endangerment, which is a felony whether it occurs in cyberspace or real life. Online child endangerment can carry penalties up to life in prison as a New York criminal defense attorney can tell you.
Children are not the only targets; some people use the Internet to stalk, target and harass adults. Cyberstalking is handled differently depending on the severity of the act and whether it is a misdemeanor or felony. In most cases, it is similar to physical stalking (following or harassing someone). It may also include the act of disseminating personal and confidential information about a person over the Internet for the purpose of humiliating or harassing them. This is usually handled as a state offense, so talk to your New York criminal defense lawyer about how New York law handles this crime.
Viruses, Malware and Trojans
Computer attacks such as viruses and other malware that seek to cripple a target’s computer or illegally obtain private information from a target’s computer are among the most damaging computer crimes possible, and unfortunately, also some of the hardest to combat. Law enforcement often does not have the tools or resources needed to effectively investigate and stop these attacks. Furthermore, these attacks are often launched from overseas, creating jurisdictional issues. However, creating viruses is a federal offense in the United States.
If you have more questions about computer crimes and how the law in your area prosecutes them, consult a New York criminal defense attorney. Call Frederick L. Sosinsky at (212) 285-2270.