Many readers of this blog might regard a reference to the term “universe” to be entirely reasonable in any discussion focused on the Internet.
It certainly incorporates the elements we might commonly think of, doesn’t it? It is huge beyond comprehension. Experts working with its dimensions routinely employ ultra-complex and detailed algorithms and other mathematical formulae. It is a flatly global phenomenon and, as one source on the subject matter notes, “ever evolving.”
And it unquestionably fascinates people across the world, who willingly spend hours each day engaged with its seemingly countless platforms.
That can sometimes lead to trouble.
The broad and complex realm of Internet crime
One in-depth overview of online criminal activity and potential penalties duly notes that Internet crime “is a large umbrella that covers a wide variety of possible offenses.”
Albeit true, that is arguably sheer understatement, given the lengthy – and steadily expanding – list of computer-linked behavior deemed unlawful. Here is a condensed summation of activities that online regulators and law enforcers routinely spotlight and investigate:
- Unlawful accessing of a computer or linked network
- Introducing a virus or malware
- Stealing provider information
- So-called “hacking” offenses
- Altering existing programs/data
- Interfering with a third party’s lawful access and use
Some readers in Colorado and elsewhere scanning behaviors like that might logically conclude that those bullet points are all a bit generic and technical and could never conceivably apply to them.
That’s likely true. What about a case involving an alleged unlawful posting of someone else’s image on a social networking site, though? Conduct regarding behavior on social media platforms (e.g., cyberbullying, sexting and stalking) is commonplace in the Internet sphere, and frequently ends up being closely scrutinized by a judge or jury in court.
The same is true for alleged offenses linked to credit card fraud, identity theft, harassment of varying types, sexual misconduct and unlawful acts committed on transactional sites like eBay and other selling platforms. The list goes on.
Here’s a bottom line concerning Internet fraud that has unquestionably proven to be true: Hard-core and sophisticated criminal enterprises operate nonstop within the realm, but so too do users who are not seeking to use the Internet in any unlawful or malicious way. In fact, individuals who are flatly unaware that they are committing any crime at all routinely find themselves in the crosshairs of law enforcers.
The downsides potentially linked with that can be notably dire. State and federal authorities accord Internet crime top-tier scrutiny, and prosecutors frequently seek convictions tied to maximum charges.
A comprehensive article on Internet crime stresses that such reality merits strong protection for any accused party. It states that, “Only an expert criminal defense attorney can be relied on to explain your situation and predict your best course of action if you’ve been accused of Internet crime.”