- Signed-up for an online account and provide fictitious information
- Uttered profane statements to someone over email/IM/blog
- Sent someone a link pointing to racy content
- Used someone else’s WiFi without permission
- Visited website for personal reasons while at work
If so, you could be charged with a felony having broken the U.S. Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C. 1030) – the very same law that famous computer hacker and formerly on the FBIs most wanted list Kevin Mitnick was convicted of. Crazy right? Ridiculous even? I agree, but not according to the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California. Let me explain as this goes back to a rather tragic case that occurred about a year and a half ago on MySpace.
“On October 16, 2006, 13-year-old Megan Meier fled from her family's computer, distraught over the cutting comments of her supposed "friends" on MySpace. Twenty minutes later, the troubled teen was dead; she had hung herself in her closet.” … “The twist that Lori Drew, a 47-year-old neighbor and mother of a former friend of Megan's, had allegedly created the fake persona of a 16-year-old boy to befriend and later torment the girl brought outrage. Yet, state investigators could not find a law under which Drew could be charged.”
But now they’ve found a way and if it stands could seriously negatively affect the rest of us. All of us. Everyone online is turned into a potential felon HACKER. They’re trying to stretch the definition of "unauthorized access” to include violating of Terms of Service. I skimmed the ToSs posted by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, MySpace, Facebook, AT&T, etc and the above items are just a small sampling of what few of us have read about the services we use online. If fact no one could probably even get online without agreeing to these ToSs and the many others like them.
I don’t know what to say here. This better not stand up and one would hope its dismissed quickly. Otherwise we all could be in big trouble if legal precedence is set.