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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Essay on Laws against Cybercrime

Because of the seriousness of the problem of cybercrime, there are already a number of laws that deal with cybercrime. Each of the countries provides for its own definition of what cybercrime or computer-related crimes are. These countries also provide for their penalties in case of violation of these crimes. In France, for instance, the laws which regulate cybercrimes are scattered in many provisions of its Penal Code and are included in different sections such as credit card offenses, unauthorized access to automated data processing system, and violation of personal rights resulting from computer files or processes.

In the United Kingdom, the Computer Misuse Act of 1990 deals with a number of computer-related crimes and provides for the penalties. In India, its law against cybercrime is provided for under the Information Technology (Amendment) Act 2008. The United States, on the other hand, has one of the most cybercrime legislations in the world. Among these federal legislations are: the Copyright Act, the National Stolen Property Act, mail and wire fraud statutes, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Communications Decency Act of 1996, the Child Pornography Prevention Act, and the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996. In addition, the individual states in the United States also have enacted a number of statutes that deal with computer crime.

Chinese Laws on Cybercrimes
            Articles 285, 286 and 287 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China and the Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Ensuring Internet Security are the governing legislations on cybercrime in China. (Pi Yong)   Under Art 285 and 286 of the said law, infringing of the security of computer information is punishable which includes the crimes of illegally invading computer information system and the destroying and damaging of computer information system.  These two provisions are similar to the provision on illegal access to a computer system which is punishable under the Convention on Cybercrime.  Art 287 and the Decision of the Standing Committee prohibit the use of compute or internet that brings serious damage to the society. 

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Malaysia Laws on Cybercrime
The relevant provision under Malaysian law on cybercrime is Act 563 of the Computer Crimes Act of 1997.  Malaysian law punishes the following cybercrimes: unauthorized access to computer material; unauthorized access with intent to commit or facilitate the commission of further offense; unauthorized modification of the contents of any computer; and wrongful communication.

Malaysian law also clearly provides for the extraterritorial application of its cybercrime law.  Act 563 provides that its provisions shall be applicable to any person regardless of his nationality or citizenship, regardless if the effect is within or outside Malaysia, as if the crime was committed within the territory of Malaysia provided that the computer, program or data was in Malaysia or capable of being connected to or sent or used by or with a computer in Malaysia.

Japan Laws on Cybercrime
The relevant provision under Japanese law on cybercrime is the Unauthorized Computer Access (UCA) Law.  Under the law, the unlawful use, entry into, and seizure of digital assets are prohibited. 

The Penal Code of Japan which was enacted in 1907 and amended in 1987 also punishes the following activities: illegal production and destruction of an electromagnetic record, interference with business transaction by a computer system, and computer fraud. (Takato Natsui, 2003, p.6) The said law defines an electromagnetic record as the record made by any electronic method, magnetic method or other methods unrecognizable with human perception and provided for the use of data processing in computer system.

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