Have you been accused of cybercrime?

It’s easy to get caught out

And more and more people are.

Have you been accused of the following?

  • Unauthorised access to a computer or electronic device
  • Illegal file sharing
  • Hacking into someone’s email or social media account(s)
  • Streaming, downloading, or uploading copyrighted material or selling devices that allow others to access streamed or downloadable copyright material

What are the most commonly occurring instances of cybercrime where people aren’t sure whether they’re on the right side of the law or not?

Is it OK to read someone else’s emails without their permission?

No. This is an offence under section 1 of the Computer Misuse Act. Whether you guess that person’s password or you see it written down on a piece of paper and then use it, if you do not have that person’s permission to access their email account, this is an offence called “unauthorised access”.

If you read any unopened email in that person’s account, you will have made an “unauthorised modification” to the database that holds that person’s email, an offence under Section 2.

Is it OK to log into someone’s social media accounts without their permission?

No. As above, this is an offence under section 1 of the Computer Misuse Act and, if you change anything on that person’s social media profile without their permission, this is an offence under Section 2 of the Computer Misuse Act.

Is it OK to try to access a hidden part of a website that requires a username and password?

No. Again, this is an offence under section 1 of the Computer Misuse Act, even if your attempt to access the website was unsuccessful.

Is it OK to try to sell or use set-top boxes which allow someone to see sports and movies without paying a subscription to the rights holders here in the UK?

No. In the past few years, boxes which allow you to view Sky Sports and Sky Movies channels without even having a Sky box have mushroomed in popularity. This has not gone unnoticed by the trade bodies who represent broadcasters like Sky, movie studios, and sports leagues.

Under the new Digital Economy bill, sellers of UK boxes could face long sentences – up to 10 years. Users of the boxes too could have legal action brought against them.

I’m a lifelong fan of a band and, together with other fans, we share files of rare unreleased studio recordings and concert recordings of the band. I have bought everything they’ve ever put out. Is that OK?

No. Although the band and its record company will be grateful to you and the other people on your sharing platform that you have bought everything your favourite band has ever released, they will not be happy with sharing their rare recordings.

Anything your favourite band produces, whether it’s a released or not, is owned by them and their record company. The minute that it has been produced, the recording is also protected by copyright.

If you have been accused of any cyber-related crime, you should seek legal advice from Ashmans Solicitors as soon as possible.

You can call us on 0333 009 6275. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.