The term “computer crimes” can seem a little vague, and with good reason – it includes a wide spectrum of criminal activity. From child pornography to financial fraud, there are many ways that a person can use a computer to break the law. However, when it comes to being charged for computer crimes, sometimes called ‘cyber crimes’ in Michigan, there are some facts you need to keep in mind.
First we’re going to take a look at the different types of crimes that involve the use of computers, and then we’ll spend a few minutes looking at the different types of charges that a person may face in Michigan as a result. Understand though, that a “computer” is broadly defined in Michigan law and also includes cell phones in addition to regular computers. The definition also includes computer peripherals such as detached hard drives or other storage devices.
Identity theft is such a common catch phrase now that it hardly needs an explanation. However, it is becoming more and more difficult to protect ourselves in this digital age. As the FBI cyber crimes site clearly explains, “Cyber intrusions are becoming more commonplace, more dangerous, and more sophisticated.”
Identity theft can often result in someone else stealing your personal information, property or belongings, a line of credit, employment opportunities, and much more. Because personal identifying information often includes Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, bank accounts logins, and credit card information, it can be devastating to the victim’s life. For this reason, and because identity theft is the most common computer crime today, prosecution of this crime is vigorous in Michigan.
Hacking can refer to a number of different cyber crimes, but is most commonly used to refer to unlawful and unauthorized access to the data in a closed system. This can be either for the purposes of stealing the information inside that system, or for the more malicious purpose of planting viruses and other malware. Hackers are very difficult to track, and therefore very hard to catch and prosecute. Once caught, however, prosecutors in Michigan will do everything in their power to press charges.
Under Michigan law, child pornography is called “child sexually abusive material.” The term refers to any image or recording of a person under the age of 18 who is engaging in any type of sexual intercourse or interaction, or is displayed naked in an erotic way. Because child porn is usually shared online, often on the dark web, and stored on computers, laptops and mobile devices, it is considered to be a cyber crime.
Soliciting a minor:
Nowadays, most solicitation for sex doesn’t happen on street corners. Rather, it takes place online, through dating sites and personals ads on Craigslist, Backpage, and other similar sites. So people who are accused of soliciting sex from a minor are usually in contact with that minor online, through a some kind of social media or message app.
Revenge porn has made headlines in Michigan in recent years, because we have only passed laws dealing with revenge porn in the last two years. Although the concept of humiliating someone as a way of getting back at them for breaking your heart probably isn’t new, the use of computers to achieve this is recent. In Michigan, posting sexually explicit pictures of someone online, or on any social media sites, without their permission can result in steep fines and jail time.
Join us next time as we look at the charges for using a computer to commit a crime, and what that could mean for you. Until then, if you or a loved one have been accused of using a computer to commit a crime, or of participating in illegal activity online, you are going to need experienced cyber crime defense attorneys on your side. We understand that cyber crimes are complex and require expert witnesses, highly skilled investigators, and knowledgeable attorneys. We have all three on hand at all times. So call us right now at 866 766 5245. We are here for you.