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Monday, January 3, 2011

Cybercrime: A Sketch of 18 U.S.C. 1030 and Related Federal Criminal Laws

Charles Doyle
Senior Specialist in American Public Law

The federal computer fraud and abuse statute, 18 U.S.C. 1030, outlaws conduct that victimizes computer systems. It is a computer security law. It protects computers in which there is a federal interest—federal computers, bank computers, and computers used in or affecting interstate and foreign commerce. It shields them from trespassing, threats, damage, espionage, and from being corruptly used as instruments of fraud.

It is not a comprehensive provision, instead it fills gaps in the protection afforded by other state and federal criminal laws. It is a work that over the last two decades, Congress has kneaded, reworked, recast, and amended to bolster the uncertain coverage of more general federal trespassing, threat, malicious mischief, fraud, and espionage statutes. This is a brief sketch of section 1030 and some of its federal statutory companions, including the amendments found in the Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act of 2008, P.L. 110-326, 122. Stat. 3560 (2008) (H.R. 5938 (110
th Congress)). It is also an abridged version of CRS Report 97-1025, Cybercrime: An Overview of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Statute and Related Federal Criminal Laws, by Charles Doyle, stripped of the authorities and footnotes found there.

Date of Report: December 27, 2010
Number of Pages: 9
Order Number: RS20830
Price: $19.95

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