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New Braunfels Federal Cyber Crimes Lawyer

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Federal Computer and Cyber Crime

In addition to state laws prohibiting specific computer-related activity, federal law also prohibits particular criminal activity involving computers. For example, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act prohibits a person from obtaining information, transmitting certain information, or otherwise conducting on a “protected computer.” This can include:

  • Affecting the use of a computer by the United States government or an agency thereof;
  • Obtaining classified or protected information from the U.S. government;
  • Transmitting a virus or similar program;
  • Transmitting threats to damage a protected computer or get data from a protected computer to extort another.

A “protected computer” includes one that:

  • Is exclusively used by a financial institution or the United States government or any computer that affects the computer’s use by and for the financial institution or the U.S. government; or
  • Is used in or affects interstate or foreign commerce.

Most personal computers, including home computers and cellular telephones, can fall under the definition of a “protected computer.”

Depending on the precise situation, placing a Global Positioning System (GPS) device on the car of another may be considered stalking and may result in either state or federal charges.

Defenses to federal computer crimes might try to focus on whether the computer was a “protected computer” within the statutory definition or challenge whether the prohibited activity affected the U.S. government, an agency of the U.S. government, or interstate commerce. This would impact the jurisdiction of the federal courts to hear such a case.