How The Expansion of Federal Cybercrime Laws Affects You


Cybercrime may be charged at the state level, see Minnesota Cybercrim Law: Stay Informed & Stay Up-To-Date and The Consequences of Criminal Sexual Cybercrimes. However, they may also be charged at the federal level.

In 1984, the U.S. passed the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and many amendments have been made to this law and were codified in United States Code, title 18, section 1030. CFAA focuses on the following types of crimes:

  • accessing a computer and obtaining information (1) in a financial record of a financial institution or a credit card issuer, (2) from any department or agency of the United States, or (3) from any protected computer including one used exclusively by a financial institution or United States government, or one which affects interstate or foreign commerce even if located outside of the United States
  • obtaining national security information
  • trespassing in a government computer
  • accessing a computer to defraud and obtain value
  • intentionally damaging by knowing transmission of code or a program such as a computer virus
  • recklessly damaging a protected computer by intentional access
  • negligently causing damage and loss to a protected computer by intentional access
  • trafficking in passwords if the passwords affect commerce or a computer used by the United States government
  • extortion involving computers

There also other types of cybercrimes under the Electronics Communication Privacy Act (ECPA), which deals with crimes dealing with wire, oral, and electronic communications while they are being made, transmitted, or stored on a computer, as well as e-mail and data stored electronically. The federal government has also passed cybercrime laws such as:

  • Credit Card Fraud Act- where computers and other technology is being used to make fraudulent credit card transactions from cloning credit cards, obtaining credit card access through unauthorized devices and other means to commit credit card fraud.
  • Identity Theft Assumption and Deterrence Act, which criminalizes the stealing of others personal data and/or from impersonating others in the cyber arena.
  • Economic Espionage Act, which deals with the theft of trade secrets and other intellectual property.
  • Child Pornography Prevention Act, which criminalized the digital possession, production, or/and distribution of images or videos that depict minors in sexually explicit conduct.
  • The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, prohibiting the use of computers or electronic communication harass, threaten, kill, intimidate, or place one under surveillance.

Cybercrimes or the use of technology in general in prosecuting and defending cases is more prevalent every day. Make sure the lawyer you chose understands these types of cases and has access to reputable experts who can help with the retrieval and analysis of technology in your case.

If you have been charges with a cybercrime or have questions about cybercrimes, call Bruno Law at (763) 545-7900 or send us a message.

Related Articles and Resources:

Minnesota Cybercrime Law: Stay Informed & Stay Up-to-date

The Consequences of Criminal Sexual Cybercrimes