Monday, January 8, 2024

Avoid Computer Crimes

 A reminder for all:

A person may not intentionally, willfully, and without authorization alter data stored by a computer database.

MD Criminal Law Code § 7-302 covers (among other things) intentionally inserting records, sign-ups, registrations, etc for the purpose of disrupting the proper use of the service. Intentionally signing someone up for a listserv to get that listserv blocked for sending spam clearly falls within this.

For the non-Maryland folks, 18 U.S. Code § 1030 is your guiding light.

Intentional disruption of someone else's use of Internet services is a crime.

Flooding a candidate's volunteer signup system with fraudulent entries to exhaust the system and prevent actual volunteer's from registering: computer crime.

Collecting the credentials of a campaign staffer and using it to download the emails from their account to distribute publicly in an effort to discredit and embarrass the campaign: computer crime.

We do not want or need to resort to computer crime to undermine functions of the electoral process, nonprofit organizations (even those with despicable goals), or generally civil society. (Judgement withheld regarding explicit government corruption. Reading recommendation: The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI, Book by Betty Medsger)

To defenders: Protect your systems and accounts as if people are fine with breaking laws. Loosing the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of your data is not mitigated by "Hey, that was illegal!"

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