By Brooke Chaplan, Special for USDR
When it was introduced, the internet was portrayed as a labor-saving portal that would increase business productivity, personal connectivity, and information sharing. While the internet has certainly done those things, it’s also created classes of crimes that weren’t possible before the digital age.
But not all of these crimes go unpunished. In fact, law enforcement continues to improve at prosecuting cybercrimes. Below we list five that you really just can’t get away with anymore.
You’ve probably encountered internet trolls at least once. These internet users hide behind website anonymity to call names, make threats, and even reveal personal information. Some of these attacks don’t fall under criminal code (aka name calling), but when someone reveals the address of a public official, all of a sudden it becomes clear just how not-anonymous the internet is. Anonymous attacks still happen but it’s almost impossible to keep them anonymous under the eyes of the law.
Because the internet allows anyone to post almost anything, some criminals make threats that if a victim doesn’t comply with their demands. Criminals will post compromising information or images online, and if they have only made verbal threats, the police may not be able to do anything. But if they do go through with it (or even makes demands via email or personal messaging), their actions can be tracked and prosecuted. Today criminal defense lawyers are becoming more versed in technology and internet crime in order to understand and prosecute new criminals online.
Plenty of trolls don’t bother to hide behind anonymous accounts. Some attack their peers using public Facebook or Twitter accounts. When this type of cyber bullying results in injury or extreme trauma, these criminals can face serious real life consequences.
You can still find movies, television shows, and music available for download online. But when these copyright infringement and thefts are prosecuted, they can result in enormous fines. One such crime, wherein a woman downloaded 24 songs illegally, was punished with a $2 million fine.
The internet gives you access to information from all over the world and some have used this information to take credit for ideas and work that doesn’t belong to them. But plagiarism is getting harder and harder to get away with, whether you stole an idea from a Kickstarter, or a line from a novel. Efficient plagiarism searches (many of which are free) can search hundreds of thousands of websites and archives, identifying plagiarism even in simple phrases.
The internet offers myriad opportunities and some potential dangers. But technological and legislative improvements are helping organizations ensure that internet users encounter those available opportunities, without falling prey to cyber criminals.