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Pennsylvania Computer Hacking Laws Expose More People to Criminal Prosecution

Computers are a great convenience and even a necessity in modern life, but they have also developed into instruments of crime, used to invade the privacy of or otherwise harass members of the public. This has led to enactment of specialized laws aimed at policing cyber crimes, resulting in more people being prosecuted and convicted.

In a recent case, a nurse in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania pled guilty to multiple counts of manufacturing child pornography and invasion of privacy, admitting that he took pornographic pictures of several of his patients and kept them on his personal laptop. He also pled guilty to two counts of sexual assault, one of which was against an unconscious patient.

Although the nurse used only his own computer, such activity can also involve unauthorized access to other people’s computers, often remotely through the internet, to steal private information and files. This may include videos, pictures or other information that the victims never intended to share with anyone or may have wished to share only with a small number of trusted friends and relatives. This information can then be used to embarrass or harass the victim.

Pennsylvania criminal law has responded to increased invasive online conduct with anti-hacking laws that expose more people to investigation and prosecution. It is illegal to engage in the following activities:

  • Unauthorized interference with computer data, which includes hacking the data or altering or permanently deleting it, whether remotely or in person
  • Sale or distribution of computer software designed to hack or disrupt the operation of computers
  • Unauthorized access of another person’s computer to forge an email, fax or other electronic transmission

These laws are being used zealously by law enforcement authorities. Some Pennsylvania police forces and district attorneys’ offices employ computer forensic experts who work to track down potential cyber-crimes. Most computer crimes are third class felonies, punishable by up to seven years in prison, and separate counts can be charge for each alleged violation, which means multiple sentences can be imposed.

If you are charged with any computer crime, you need an experienced cyber crime defense attorney to represent you. Your attorney can hire computer forensic experts to develop evidence that can be used to contest the charges. If you your computer was used for hacking, your attorney might raise such defenses as these:

  • You believed in good faith that you were authorized to access or alter computer data
  • You did not intend to engage in the alleged conduct
  • Someone else accessed your computer to commit the crime

A person suspected of a computer crime might be charged with a third class felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison. Separate counts can be charged for each alleged violation, which means multiple sentences can be imposed.

The Law Office of David Jay Glassman in Philadelphia provides effective representation to people accused of computer crimes such as hacking, cyber harassment and other invasions of privacy. Call us at 215-563-7100 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.