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Is it a Crime to Make a Computer Virus or Hack?

You may be charged with a criminal offence for cyber-crime for certain online activity.

You may be charged with a criminal offence for cyber-crime for certain online activity.

 

  • The Canadian Criminal code has been used and amended to deal with technological advances in an effort to regulate and criminalize certain online activity.

It is possible to be charged with mischief under section 430(1) and section 430(5.1) for cyber-crime.

Mischief

430 (1) Every one commits mischief who wilfully

(a) destroys or damages property;

(b) renders property dangerous, useless, inoperative or ineffective;

(c) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property; or

(d) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with any person in the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property.

Marginal note:Mischief in relation to computer data

(1.1) Everyone commits mischief who wilfully

(a) destroys or alters computer data;

(b) renders computer data meaningless, useless or ineffective;

(c) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use of computer data; or

(d) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with a person in the lawful use of computer data or denies access to computer data to a person who is entitled to access to it.

Marginal note: Punishment

(2) Every one who commits mischief that causes actual danger to life is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.

Marginal note: Punishment

(3) Every one who commits mischief in relation to property that is a testamentary instrument or the value of which exceeds five thousand dollars

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or

(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction

Offence

(5.1) Every one who wilfully does an act or wilfully omits to do an act that it is his duty to do, if that act or omission is likely to constitute mischief causing actual danger to life, or to constitute mischief in relation to property or data,
(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or
(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

  •  There are no laws that prohibit the creation or dissemination of computer viruses
  • However it follows that if as a result of a virus or hacking that computer sabotage occurred as defined  destruction of hardware, erasure or alteration of data, logic bombs that someone would be subject to criminal charges of mischief under sections 430(1.1) and 430(5.1) of the Criminal Code.
  • There is debate over whether or not unauthorized entry into of use of computer should be criminalized activity.
  • Especially if the intent of the hacker is to acquire information but for no other purpose nefarious purpose.
  • There is currently no criminal offence in the criminal code that would criminalize hacking into a system for the purpose of browsing.
  • However that action could potentially lead to criminal offence charges.
  • They could be charged with:
  • Fraud section 380, if someone were to falsely represent themselves as having authority to access an account.
  • Personation section 403 if someone were to falsely assume the identity of a lawful user.
  • Dishonest Acquisition of Computer Services section 342.1(1) if someone where to acquire computer services fraudulently and without colour of right, directly or indirectly.
  • If you have been charged with a criminal offence contact Kostman and Pyzer, Barristers today for advice!

 

8 Nov 2016

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