#1275998: Are Cybercrime Laws and Penalties Good Enough?

Description: Although internet crime has been happening for a few decades, penalties for cybercrime are still light compared to penalties for traditional crimes. Judges struggle to determine appropriate punishment for cybercriminals. With much of the legislation on cybercrime being only 10 to 15 years old, judges have few benchmarks to use. Judges and lawyers are currently trying to figure out how some of the penalties should work for cybercrime offenses.

Internet crimes include a wide array of offenses, from identity theft to fraud and hacking. Individual states and the federal government have developed laws that criminalize different behavior involving computers, networks, and the internet—all with individual requirements and penalties. For example, Alabama defines cyber offenses as data fraud, phishing, and computer tampering, with penalties ranging anywhere from 1 year of jail time with a $6,000 fine to 99 years in jail with a $60,000 fine. Through its Computer Crimes Act, Florida defines cybercrime as offenses against intellectual property or computer users.

Cybercrime affects everyone from individuals to businesses and large corporations and must be dealt with accordingly because the punishment should fit the crime. On average, the penalty for illegally accessing a computer system ranges anywhere from six months to a few years. The penalty for modification of a computer system is anywhere from 5 to 10 years.

According to the Information Technology Act of 2000, varying penalties are available for different cybercrimes. Some of these crimes include computer source document tampering, in which someone changes the source code on a website or computer program, and will receive a penalty of up to three years in prison or a fine.

Some punishments for cybercrime may be too light compared to the damage done. The average standard penalty is minimal compared to the damage or annoyance caused by the cybercriminal. With a limited number of cybercrime convictions in comparison to traditional crime, judges have little to go on when deciding sentencing. As such, judges who are sentencing people for the first time for a cybercrime may not deliver a proper sentence for the crime.
More info: https://it.toolbox.com/blogs/anthonyortega/are-cybercrime-laws-and-penalties-good-enough-090619

Date added Sept. 11, 2019, 7:15 p.m.
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