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Children’s Internet Protection Act, 2000
Almost every home, library and school in the US has computers as well as access to the internet. These have become very important to children’s success in their academic work. However, the internet can expose them to online predators as well as inappropriate material. The increase in use of the internet by children especially teenagers brought in concerns about the need to prevent illegal activities over the internet.
The US Congress enacted the Children’s Internet Protection Act, 2000 to address access to offensive content through the internet. The Act requires schools as well as libraries to put content filters on their information systems to prevent minors from accessing inappropriate sites and contents (Reynolds, 2006). Content devices are placed to block obscene and child pornography pictures, as well as, any other material deemed to cause harm to minors.
The passing of this Act was prompted by the increase of global network which enabled minors to chart or communicate through email and chart rooms. This was deemed to pose risks to minors who can still be easily deceived by those who pretend to have good intent. Besides, software for hacking and spyware had become very common, meaning that anybody could easily illegally gain access to minors’ information if they wanted to for any reason.
Hacking allows unauthorized access, disclosure as well as dissemination of personal identification information about children and teenagers. This posed great risks to minors who access the internet. There were concerns that some of these software companies develop software which enable them track minors’ web-surfing activities, and as a result sell the information to market research companies (Reynolds, 2006).
This is illegitimate and against the Privacy Act. Marketing companies and other firms use such information to send email advertisements by use of ardware through minors’ email addresses, regardless of their ages and the risks associated with the products or activities.
Again, the internet allows those who develop pornography movies and pictures to distribute them online. Some of these contents are freely available online and always attract minors’ attention. Such inappropriate contents contribute to minors being involved in immoral activities which include sex when they are not yet mature. The internet also allows drug gangs to make attractive advertisements which allow them to easily recruit teenagers into their drug and gang activities.
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 1986
The Act was passed to help reduce cracking of information systems as well as to deal with federal computer-related offenses. It governs cases where information systems are used to carry out crimes involving interstate as well as foreign commerce. It also covers the use of computers to commit crimes related to illegal access or use of computers of financial institutions or the federal government.
The act was passed as a result of the development of electronic funds transfer systems, hacking software, spyware, virus and the increase in adoption of information systems in institutions. The adoption of electronic funds transfers created real concerns about fraud or illegal transfer of funds from financial institutions. Fraudsters are able to maliciously access data and use various techniques to steal money from financial institutions or individual accounts.
The development of credit cards, ATM cards and automated machines has increased the risks of fraud. Criminals skim credit card details by swiping them through card reader to copy the information contained in their magnetic strip, and use them to generate cloned cards (Stamp & Walker, 2007).
Companies have developed handheld skimmers which can fit into pockets and hands, which allow fraudsters to secretly swipe cards without the knowledge of the owners. Some of these skimmers are attached to ATMs in the card slot. They are used in combination with pinhole cameras to record customers entering PIN.
Fraudsters can also take advantage of their powerful encrypting software to encrypt passwords of employees in a financial institution to transfer funds from the institution to a financial institution in another country. The development of online financial transactions has also increased fraud risk. Hackers can hack financial details of an individual or institution through unauthorized leaks in the system and use it carry out fraud activities, which includes illegal transfer of funds and assets across countries.
Software companies and individuals continuously develop password hacking software which hackers and crackers use to view activities of other remotely connected computers. They are therefore able to spy activities of institutions of the federal government or monitor the financial activities of financial institutions. There also software which enables them to capture the activities of these institutions or damage vital data belonging to these institutions (Wienbar, 2004).
These software enable them crack passwords since they are stronger than firewall and other filters. They can therefore illegally gain access to confidential information and use it to achieve their own personal interest. Spyware and viruses have been developed to cause damage and to gain unauthorized access to federal information. They can be used to hack, delete files or information stored in protected computers vital to the federal government or institutions.
New technologies such as spyware can be used to collect information from corporate or public institutions without the knowledge of the computer users. They can be used to monitor computer users, collect personal information and take control of the computer of computer systems.
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They can install additional software which may include virus, and interfere with functionality of other computer programs. The development of webcams also poses great risks. Individuals remotely activate webcams embedded in computers used in institutions to secretly capture activities, and therefore illegally monitor activities of individuals and institutions.
Reynolds, G. (2006). Ethics in information technology, 2nd Ed. St Peter Port: Course Technology Inc.
Stamp, J., & Walker, J. (2007). Money laundering in Australia, 2004: Trends and issues in crime and criminal justice. Australian Institute of Criminology, 342.
Wienbar, S. (2004). The Spyware Inferno. News.com. Web.