The IT Law Wiki

To begin with, computer crime (also known as cybercrime) is a type of crime that involves the use of a computer, a computer network, or a networked device. Any criminal offense including the use of computer technology in the commission, investigation, or prosecution of the crime. Sabotage or theft of electronically stored data are examples of crimes including the usage of a computer.[1] Cybercrime is seldom utilized to damage computers for intentions other than gain. These could be either political or personal in nature. The majority of cybercrime goes into following categories:

  • Criminal activity that targets.
  • Criminal activity that utilizes computers to perpetrate other crimes.[2]

On top of that, viruses and other forms of malware are often utilized in cybercrime that targets computers. Cybercriminals may infiltrate computers with viruses and malware to damage or incapacitate them (Berry Law Firm, 2018). They could also employ malware to wipe out or rob details. Cybercrime that includes the usage of computers or networks to disseminate viruses, illicit information, or illicit images is known as a cyberattack. Cybercriminals sometimes engage in both forms of cybercrime simultaneously. They might start by infecting computers with viruses. Then utilize them to propagate malware over a network or to other PCs.

Scope of the Fourth Amendment with regard to Electronic Communications:

The legal privacy rights in electronic communications in the US is based on assessments of the US Constitution, notably the Fourth Amendment to the Bill of Rights, which indicates (Fourth Amendment, 2021):

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Before the government can surreptitiously acquire and search emails maintained by email services, it needs a search warrant. In the subject of email messages, there is a reasonable belief. When electronic communications were widely available in the early twentieth century, law enforcement organizations started to use wiretapping in their operations without first acquiring the warrants necessary for a physical search (Fourth Amendment, 2021). As a result of the convictions, judicial appeals were filed before the US Congress took up the issue of electronic privacy. As a result, it was up to the courts to determine whether warrantless eavesdropping and wiretapping are protected by the Fourth Amendment by interpreting the framers’ intention.

Challenges in Investigating and Prosecuting Cybercrimes:

Computer crimes are challenging to investigate and prosecute because they provide significant challenges to law enforcement. The following are some of the reasons why cybercrimes are not prosecuted (UNODC, 2021):

·      Enforcement officials face a huge difficulty due to jurisdiction and the worldwide spread of cybercrime. The enforceability of cybercrime is limited by enforcing the law across the jurisdictional region of officials.

·      There are no information-sharing mechanisms in place at various federal and state entities. As a result, one agency lacks detailed information, causing delays in enforceability.

·      The ability to handle cybercrime necessitates ongoing technological advancement and experience; nevertheless, with the changing methods of cybercrime, officials are finding it difficult to keep up.

·      The major and most difficult obstacle that officials face is that because victims are outside of anyone's jurisdictional area, they are limited in their ability to devote time and resources.

·      Corporations may be hesitant to disclose cybercrime because they believe it would harm their business.

·      Criminals encrypt data, making it tough for officials to interpret and prosecute.

Consequently, when compared to traditional crimes, cybercrime has additional elements that make it more difficult to analyze and punish.

Tort Law:

Torts are civil wrongdoings that result in civil damages. These are privileges that individuals have in general against the rest of the world. The duty to act with reasonable care that passes from one party to another is a fundamental principle of tort law. If a legal duty of care owed to another person or entity is violated, and damages are proximately produced as a result of the violation, the responsible party may be found accountable in a court of law for the resulting harm. Negligence, intentional acts, and strict liability are the three basic categories of torts (LII, 2021).

Moving on, intentional torts are a type of tort in which the perpetrator must have intended to do damage to the victim. The tort of battery, which necessitates the perpetrator to touch a victim in a hurtful or offensive manner, is an instance of an intentional tort in which the offender must intend to do so. Furthermore, strict responsibility applies to some causes of action that do not require the tortfeasor to have any improper intent. In product liability proceedings, the most prevalent type of strict responsibility is used. Besides that, the most prevalent type of tort action is negligence, which occurs when a tortfeasor (person who commits a tort) fails to conduct as a sensible person would in the same or identical situations.

Different Types of Invasion of Privacy by the Internet:

When your reasonable expectation of being left alone is violated, it is called an invasion of privacy. The following are the four primary forms of invasion of privacy claims (Findlaw, 2019):

·      Intrusion upon seclusion: Intruding another's privacy might result in legal consequences if the intrusion is extremely offensive to a sensible individual. This tort is frequently connected with people who illegally intercept private phone calls or spy through personal records. Taking pictures of someone in public is not considered an invasion of privacy; but, taking photos of someone inside their home using a long-range camera is. Making a few unwanted phone calls may not be considered a privacy violation, but continuously phoning after being requested to stop is. An individual with binoculars, for instance, climbs a tree in his yard on a regular basis to watch a lady across the road undress through her rest room window.

·      Misappropriation of a person’s name or likeness: If someone (or a firm) exploits the plaintiffs’ name or likeness for profit without their consent, they may be able to sue for damages. This typically entails a company employing a celebrity's name or likeness in a commercial. This form of privacy tort is even limited to business purposes in some areas. This isn't always the case, however. A private detective, for instance, who imitates another individual to gain sensitive details has violated that individual’s privacy. This tort is recognized in the same way as a property right is recognized. In short, an individual's name and likeness are recognized as their property. This is commonly known as the right of publicity for celebrities.

·      Public disclosure of private facts: The First Amendment's protection of free speech must be balanced against claims of invasion of privacy. The truth of the given information, unlike defamation, is not a defense. A person may be held accountable for damages if they publicly expose accurate details that is not of public importance and that a sensible individual would consider offensive if publicly disclosed. For instance, a female due to have a caesarian section agrees to have the procedure taped for educational purposes only, but it is instead exhibited to the public in a commercial theatre. This is an infringement on her personal space.

·      False light: A false light argument is similar to a defamation claim in that it enables a person to sue for public revelation of material that is deceiving (or casts them in a false light), but not factually false. The main distinction is that defamation claims only apply to the public broadcasting of incorrect material, and, as with defamation, First Amendment safeguards may be invoked in specific cases. “Special Delivery: World's oldest newspaper carrier, 101, quits because she's pregnant!” a 96-year-old lady sued an Arkansas newspaper for printing her image next to the headline. The woman, who was not pregnant, was granted $1.5 million in damages. In addition, a false light claim must typically include the following aspects (Findlaw, 2019):

o   The plaintiff was the subject of a publication by the defendant.

o   It was done with complete disregard for the consequences.

o   It presented the plaintiff in an unfavorable light.

o   A sensible individual would find it exceedingly unpleasant or humiliating.

Right of Publicity:

The right of publicity is an intellectual property right that protects an individual's name, likeness, or other signs of personal identity—like a nickname, pseudonym, voice, signature, likeness, or photograph—from being utilized for commercial advantage (LII, 2020). In the US, neither federal legislation nor case law acknowledges the right of publicity, while a parallel statutory right to protection against fraudulent endorsement, association, or affiliation is identified by federal unfair competition legislation (LII, 2020). The right to publicity is identified by statute and case law in most of the states.


Berry Law Firm. (2018, November 13). Common Types of Computer Crimes. Berry Law Firm.

Fourth Amendment. (2021). Fourth Amendment Rights and Electronic Communications.

UNODC. (2021). Cybercrime Module 5 Key Issues: Obstacles to Cybercrime Investigations.

LII. (2021). Tort. Legal Information Institute.

Findlaw. (2019, March 20). Invasion of Privacy. Findlaw.

LII. (2020). Publicity. Legal Information Institute.

  1. Berry Law Firm, Common Types of Computer Crimes (Nov. 13, 2018) (full-text).
  2. Id.