Internet and Cyberspace Crime Law



Internet and Cyberspace Crime Law governs crimes on the internet. It is regulated by U.S. federal and state laws, as well as international laws. Cybercrime is one of the three general categories of Computer Crime.

They are crimes that are committed through the use of computer networks and devices, although the crime committed does not target the actual computer or the network (Fraud and identity theft: phishing and pharming scams; corporate espionage; embezzlement; cyber terrorism; child pornography trafficking, and more).

State law requires that in order to be convicted of cybercrime, one must willfully, knowingly or purposely access computer-based data and intend to steal, destroy or alter computer-based information, steal services, passwords, or otherwise interfere with hardware or software, etc. It is not criminal, if one accidentally or unintentionally happens upon secure information without intent.

Most states classify cybercrimes as either misdemeanors or felonies based upon the amount of damage sustained by the victim, although the amounts vary from state to state.

To consult State Legislation regarding internet and cyberspace crime laws and regulations please see the Criminal Code by State page.


Know Your Rights!

  • Do Real World Laws Apply to Virtual World Problems?

    Everyday, millions of people login from all over the world to experience various virtual worlds. Some are part of a video game, others are intended to allow for social interactions, and still others include elements for commercial dealings. Whatever the purpose, any environment in which people interact can lead to friction and disagreements of various sorts. This has led many to ask whether the laws of the real world can or should apply to virtual world problems.

  • s it Legal for Someone to Post my Private Photos Then Demand Money for Their Removal?

    Over the last few years, a number of unscrupulous websites have developed around Americans' increasing comfort with sharing private, intimate photos with one another. While the photos are usually not intended for public consumption, often after a rough breakup or other event in which the recipient is left unhappy, that person will post those photos for the world to see. But is this legal? More importantly, can the site where the photos are posted legally charge you to take them down?

Articles on HG.org Related to Internet and Cyberspace Crime Law

  • All Criminal Law Articles

    Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Criminal Law including: arson, assault, battery, bribery, burglary, child abuse, child pornography, computer crime, controlled substances, credit card fraud, criminal defense, criminal law, drugs and narcotics, DUI, DWI, embezzlement, fraud, expungements, felonies, homicide, identity theft, manslaughter, money laundering, murder, perjury, prostitution, rape, RICO, robbery, sex crimes, shoplifting, theft, weapons, white collar crime and wire fraud.

Internet and Cyberspace Crime Law - US

  • ABA - Committee on Cyberspace Law

    The Committee on Cyberspace Law provides a forum for analysis of corporate, transactional and regulatory issues related to the internet and digital technologies. The Committee works in a wide range of legal disciplines including electronic commerce and contracts, consumer protection, intellectual property, cybersecurity & privacy, jurisdiction, internet governance, and online financial activities. The Committee seeks to identify and address legal, business, and consumer issues affected by the implementation of emerging technologies and to facilitate the creation of legal infrastructures that protect and support electronic commerce. The Committee provides practical tools and guidance both for practitioners who regularly deal with cyberlaw issues and for those who encounter them only occasionally.

  • Computer Crime Cases

    Presentation of a summary chart of recently prosecuted computer cases. Many cases have been prosecuted under the computer crime statute, 18 U.S.C. §1030. This listing is a representative sample; it is not exhaustive. Click on the name of the case to read a press release about the case.

  • Cyber Investigations - FBI

    The FBI's cyber mission is four-fold: first and foremost, to stop those behind the most serious computer intrusions and the spread of malicious code; second, to identify and thwart online sexual predators who use the Internet to meet and exploit children and to produce, possess, or share child pornography; third, to counteract operations that target U.S. intellectual property, endangering our national security and competitiveness; and fourth, to dismantle national and transnational organized criminal enterprises engaging in Internet fraud. Pursuant to the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace signed by the President, the Department of Justice and the FBI lead the national effort to investigate and prosecute cybercrime.

  • Cyber Security Enhancement Act (CSEA)

    The Cyber Security Enhancement Act (CSEA) was passed together with the Homeland Security Act in 2002, it granted sweeping powers to the law enforcement organizations and increased penalties that were set out in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

  • Cyberspace Crimes - Definition

    Cyberspace crimes are the fastest growing challenge for the future of the Internet. As the world's infrastructure becomes more centralized, the potential problems become even greater. Fraud, blackmail, child pornography and cyberterrorism are becoming more common throughout the world. Authorities attempt to control these situations, but the lack of laws and continued advancements in technology present real impediments to properly dealing with these crimes.

  • Cyberspace Law - NAAG

    As today's technology-driven world provides a new arena for criminals and other unscrupulous actors, the Cyber Crime Project works to provide the necessary training and technical assistance to prosecutors in Attorney General Offices to enable them to successfully investigate and prosecute computer-based crimes. Funded through a cooperative effort between NAAG and the National Center for Justice and the Rule of Law at the University of Mississippi, the Project develops and conducts training seminars throughout the year at the University. Hedda Litwin, NAAG's Cyber Crime and Violence Against Women Counsel, is responsible for the trainings.

  • Electronic Crime - National Institute of Justice (NIJ)

    NIJ's Electronic Crime Program is designed to address any type of crime involving digital technology, including cyber-crime and cyber-terrorism. The goal of the program is to enable the criminal justice community to better address electronic crime by building capacity for and conduits among Federal, State, and local agencies, industry, and academia.

  • National Cyber Security Division - Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

    The National Cybersecurity Division (NCSD) works collaboratively with public, private and international entities to secure cyberspace and America’s cyber assets. Strategic Objectives: To protect the cyber infrastructure, NCSD has identified two overarching objectives: * To build and maintain an effective national cyberspace response system * To implement a cyber-risk management program for protection of critical infrastructure.

  • USDOJ - Reporting Computer, Internet-Related, or Intellectual Property Crime

    Internet-related crime, like any other crime, should be reported to appropriate law enforcement investigative authorities at the local, state, federal, or international levels, depending on the scope of the crime. Citizens who are aware of federal crimes should report them to local offices of federal law enforcement.

  • WHOA - United States Federal and State Cyberstalking Laws

    WHOA is a volunteer organization founded in 1997 to fight online harassment through education of the general public, education of law enforcement personnel, and empowerment of victims. The mission of WHOA is to educate the Internet community about online harassment, empower victims of harassment, and formulate voluntary policies that systems administrators can adopt in order to create harassment-free environments. We've also formulated voluntary policies which we encourage online communities to adopt in order to create safe and welcoming environments for all internet users.

Internet and Cyberspace Crime Law - Europe

  • Council of Europe - Convention on Cybercrime

    Concerned about the weak computer crime laws in some European countries, the Council of Europe (part of the European Commission) has issued a draft treaty that would require its member countries to pass comprehensive computer crime legislation. The treaty calls for criminalization of hacking, unauthorized interception of data, interference with computer systems, and computer-related fraud and forgery.

  • Council of Europe - Cybercrime

    The Council of Europe helps protect societies worldwide from the threat of cybercrime through the Convention on Cybercrime and its Protocol on Xenophobia and Racism, the Cybercrime Convention Committee (T-CY) and the Project on Cybercrime.

Internet and Cyberspace Crime Law - International

  • Cyber Law of India

    Cyber crimes can involve criminal activities that are traditional in nature, such as theft, fraud, forgery, defamation and mischief, all of which are subject to the Indian Penal Code. The abuse of computers has also given birth to a gamut of new age crimes that are addressed by the Information Technology Act, 2000.

  • International Cybercrime Treaty

    The Senate has ratified a broad new treaty that expands police powers and requires American authorities to conduct surveillance on individuals whose actions violate the laws of foreign countries but not US law. Created for law enforcement with little to no public input and subjecting its adherents to the whims of foreign dictators, the Council on Europe's International Cybercrime Treaty was ostensibly created to help protect against cybercrime, but is drafted so broadly that it will affect far more than a few hackers.

Organizations Related to Internet and Cyberspace Crime Law

  • CERT

    CERT researches, analyzes, and develops technology and training aimed at helping administrators secure their systems and networks. Building on its long history of vulnerability research, CERT is involved with vulnerability analysis, an effort divided into two areas: vulnerability discovery and vulnerability remediation.

  • Computer Crime Research Center (CCRC)

    Law enforcement and security officials know it, and so do insurance professionals. In fact, they expect cyber liability to be one of the fastest-growing segments of the national property and casualty market.

  • Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre - UNSW

    The Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre at UNSW provides a focus for research, public interest advocacy and education on issues of law and policy concerning digital transactions in cyberspace. It is a Centre of the Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

  • Cyberterrorism Defense Initiative

    the CDI program was created to provide comprehensive, transferable, and inexpensive cyberterrorism training to qualifying technical personnel throughout the United States. Personnel can come from public safety, law enforcement, state and local government, public utilities, colleges and universities, and health care providers.

  • Inter-American Cooperation Portal on Cyber Crime (OAS)

    In March, 1999, the Meetings of Ministers of Justice or other Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas, recognizing the spread and potential magnitude of cyber-crime for OAS member states, recommended the creation of an intergovernmental expert group, within the framework of the OAS, with responsibility for: 1. Completing a diagnosis of criminal activity which targets computers and information, or which uses computers as the means of committing an offense; 2. Completing a diagnosis of national legislation, policies and practices regarding such activity; 3. Identifying national and international entities with relevant expertise; and 4. Identifying mechanisms of cooperation within the inter-American system to combat cyber crime.

  • Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

    The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). IC3's mission is to serve as a vehicle to receive, develop, and refer criminal complaints regarding the rapidly expanding arena of cyber crime.

  • Internet Fraud Watch

    The Internet offers a global marketplace for consumers and businesses. But crooks also recognize the potentials of cyberspace. The same scams that have been conducted by mail and phone can now be found on the World Wide Web and in email, and new cyberscams are emerging. It's sometimes hard to tell the difference between reputable online sellers and criminals who use the Internet to rob people.

Publications Related to Internet and Cyberspace Crime Law

  • Computer World Security - Cyber Crime and Hacking

    Get the latest news and analysis on cybercrime and hacking.

  • The Law of Cyber-Space

    This site provides reading materials for students studying the law as it applies to activities in cyberspace. The reading materials include edited cases, statutes, treaties, and law review articles, as well as content written by the individual module authors.




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