Computer Society and the Law

Computer Society and the Law
Introduction
This is a professional society whose main target is to advance theory through the practice and processing of information in terms of science and technology.  Most workshops are sponsored, peer reviews as well as other technical publications. There are diversified roles of computer society and they depend from one country to another.  In the modern society, technology is spreading so fast and this implies that there are risks involved.  The main roles of the computer society in the UK is to sustain the volunteering board in a six-way fold; education, publications, membership activities, conference activities, standards and technical activities (Wood,  2006).

In 2010, the computer society initiated a special program with the main view of empowering the community especially in technical areas that needed the integration of modern technology with an aim to breaking silos and facilitating the growth of a dynamic environment. The main programs highlighted are social networking, operating systems, smart grids, multicore, system engineering, haptics as well as wearable technologies.

Each country has its specific system of addressing their issues through the computer society program (Wyatt, 2009). Owing to the insecurities that surround the information sector especially on the social media, and have come up with strategies to reduce them. This is through the creation of laws that safeguard the computers and data.  There are many ways in which the computer can be misused and there are legal measures that can be taken against the offenders.

Computer Crimes

Among the worst ways in which a computer can be misused is through computer hacking.  This case has recently raised concerns when it came to be established that some newspapers h ad a tendency to hire private investigators who hack into other people’s phones and computers to search for stories to sell.  In accordance with computer Misuse act it is illegal to hack into someone’s phone or computer or send him a virus that would enable him to access another person’s private information (Mac Ewan, 2008). Any computer owner has the right to keep the data on the computer private; the second party should come in only with his or her consent.
Computer hacking is a criminal offence as it is associated with fraud and theft; it has a lengthy punishment and can lead to imprisonment of the culprits.  Computer hackers normally target the intellectual property of a company or an individual. Another way of misusing the computer is through the cyber attacks where the individual interferes with the entire system of the computer and paralyses it. Among the top reasons are; to bring down the company, to identify what to sell, or terroristic attacks with an aim of paralyzing the official documents.

Computer hacking is extremely illegal and has serious penalties to the offenders. Companies should invest much on their most valuable assets especially their clients and products (Akdeniz, 2006).  He clearly cites that most companies overlook the security of the computer systems in terms of passwords, yet hackers look for such delicate information for their malicious purposes.  Among the famous earliest cases of computer hacking in the UK are traced back in 1985.

When Gold and Shifreen through the use of their home computers and modem secured unauthorized access to Prestel Company which belonged to the British Telecom.  This happened during a trade show and Shifreen maliciously got the password from the Prestel’s engineer without his consent after   which they used to explore the entire system.  They were later tracked down and arraigned in court after which they were fined with specimen charges. In this simple context, it is clear that computer hacking is indeed a serious offense.  Another common serious computer crime in the UK is the misuse of software, it is an offence to access an area that is unauthorized, induces the computer to perform any function with a malicious intention of accessing data and information from another computer.

In the UK, computer misuse act 1990 is a law which protects the most common crimes  against the computers, though during its initiation, there were some offenses that could not be prosecuted at that given time and that’s why the police and Justice Act 2006 was made to amend some of the offences (Wyatt, 2009).  According to Section 3 of the amended Act, it is unlawful to access and impair the normal working system of the computer (Akdeniz, 2006). It states;   it’s offensive for anyone to make, and supply any material in electronic form with a malicious intention of assisting in the commission of any offence.   The main objective of these laws is divided into five dimensions. First of all, its to prevent the hacking of computer systems, protection of data, copyright as well as patents,  to censor the internet and finally for the general  health and security measures.
In the UK, the computer Misuse Act is specific with hackers who program the computer to access through unauthorized data in another computer. Altering, copying, deleting, moving or simply putting data on screen, printer and impersonating the person through the web page, online chat or even email is a serious offence and a serious crime.  Offenses which require intent in order to aggravate another offence are arrestable (Mac Ewan 2008). For instance,  a hacker who access the computer system with the aim of transferring shares, steal, get private information or blackmail falls in this category. In this case, three offences are chargeable.

The first one is unauthorized access; the second one is the criminal offences that are carried out while the third one is the circulation of the computer virus through the use of Trojan horse which facilitates the production of identical data. With an aim of reducing these cases, the industries invented the ‘time locking’ program which involves the disabling of the software program.

Much has progressed since 2004. When the All Party Internet Group proposed the amendment of certain laws in order to rhyme with that of European convention on cyber crimes.  In this case, the imprisonment period for the offenders was extended from six months to around 2 years.  As the technology is still advancing, much is still to be amended especially when addressing the issue of ‘smart phones ‘which have the internet browsers as well as other related features like those on a computer.

In this case, there are chances that new amendments will be made and this time it will be offensive to publicly disclose someone’s password so that others access illegally. As technology becomes more complex, so does the techniques to combat computer abuse.  The computer society in the UK has therefore laid down firm strategies in order to cope with the increasing number of cyber crimes.
Another form of computer abuse which has raised eyebrows especially in the younger generation is pornography. These materials can be stored in electronic form   and the people involved can spread to other networks which eventually lead to degradation of morality.

Distribution of copyrighted material like films and music across the computer networks without the creator’s consent is a sure way of computer misuse; it’s also unlawful since it breaks the rules that bind copyrights.  Viruses are among the most common forms of computer abuse, these programs can run down the entire cyber, and are a nuisance to the users, viruses can also damage the files of the computer. Computer misuse has become a threat to both individuals and companies in the UK; the impact of such cases has generally impacted on the social, political, cultural as well as the social lives of the citizens

Impact of Computer Misuse and Prevention Measures in UK

There are many reasons for hackers to attack the computer system. Among the major reasons could be to vandalize the system, get rid of all the information, it could be a mission to revenge, fraud, a sabotage or simply to mess up with the delicate property of the business. This could be the copyright of the business. Well, for these reasons, the UK parliament through the enactment of Computer Misuse Act 1990 has directed ways in which this habit can be minimized and through these laws, computer technicians have also been inadvertently affected.

For instance, the hacking tools have been criminalized yet some software tools have both legitimate and illegal uses. It has also prompted all the organizations to have personalized data and this has been done though the data protection act.  The creation of database in any organization makes everything easy in terms of communication, sharing information editing as well as referencing but everything can take a rude dimension when this information gets in the wrong hands this explains why the Data Protection Act was introduced in the UK In 1998.  This was passed by the parliament in order to control information and give the legal rights to individual s whose information is stored. Other European unions have so far assimilated these laws in their countries.
The copyright law on the other hand safeguards the rights of the copyright owners.   This gives them the ownership rights to have full control over the original work piece so that thee is no publication, adaption or distribution of the same material without his consent.  This could be written material, music, or films. There are penalty measures for the offenders of this law.  In 1984, the software industry in UK initiated the (FAST) which means Federation against Software Theft which was targeted at eradicating the software theft. Allover the world, there has been a massive problem of people violating the copyright law and this has caused adverse consequences for the owners leading to huge losses.

In response to reduction of email spamming, the software industry has clearly directed that anonymous emails should always be ignored. In fact the spammers should be reported to internet service providers as soon as possible. Through these laws, the government has contained the spammers since heavy measures are taken against them. It is the solemn responsibility of computer users to be vigilant, and wise so as to safeguard data.  This can be done through the creation of backups. Which means copying data on another storage device just incase the other information is damaged or corrupted; the user will still use this one.

The user should also be careful with their passwords to avoid the access of malicious hackers. There is however no emphasis in the UK laws for institutions to regulate and monitor the kind of information on the computer systems and this generally increases the illegal material. Institutions should therefore have advanced security which enhances confidentiality as well as integrity and this call for investment for more sophisticated infrastructure with protected systems (Mac Ewan 2008).
Among the main roles of the computer society in the UK is to develop law on the IT, encourage, liberalize and enforce the parliamentary claims so as to disseminate it for the benefit of all citizens. However, the enforcement of these laws is not enough. Much caution needs to be taken on an individual and organizational perspective. All institutions should have a workable strategy to ensure that computer misuse is completely eradicated. As the technology advances, so should be the amendment to the current law Acts that safeguards against computer Misuse.
Over the recent years, the adverse impact of computer misuse has been witnessed in most parts of the UK; cyber crime is the most current and has put the country on the lime light for the wrong reasons. The government has done much to contain these crimes. Police Central e-crime for instance has been funded by Metropolitan police to give a comprehensive response to the most common cyber crime cases. In a way to provide a secure environment for the users, certain directions have been proposed in order to reduce the cases of cyber attacks and this includes; sensitizing all the internet users to install strong firewalls as anti virus. Another move from the law enforcement agencies is through the blocking of certain websites and fining the users who access them.

Conclusion

Computer crimes are devastating and can cause huge losses to institutions. The computer society plays a major role in safeguarding the interests of the users by enforcing laws that will protect the rights of all the users. In the UK various IT related organizations have come up with tough measures for the offenders. Sensitization programs for the users have also been established for all users since these crimes affect even the children who can be bullied or exposed to pornographic sites at tender stages.
Social networking cites are the sources of crimes and therefore much caution should be taken by users for them not to fully expose all their details as they will be attracting the hackers. Technology  advancement  has served as a step ahead to mankind yet human intellects have destructively directed it into a curse in his statement, Oak clearly states that eradicating computer crimes is almost ‘impossible’ as there are always new tricks emerging, before they are fully discovered , much harm is already effected ( Oak 2008).  It is therefore a collective responsibility of every individual to stand against computer crimes irrespective of the age, race, nationality or status, to enhance a safer computer environment.

References
Oak M (2008). “Types of Computer Crimes” pg 311
Wood Helen (2006) “Computer Society Celebrates 50 Years”, Annals of Computing History. Pg 17
Mac Ewan N (2008). ”The Computer Misuse Act 1990”: Lessons from Past & Predictions for future pg. 955
Akdeniz, Y (2006) S3 of Computer Misuse Act 1990: Antidote for Computer Virus                                  217
Wyatt, D (2009). “Computer Misuse, Regulation and Law” 118-123

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