After Hours

10 ways you might be breaking the law with your computer: UPDATED

Legislation that affects the use of Internet-connected computers continues to grow in its reach and its complexity. To help you avoid any infractions, we've revised this list to include new and pending laws and recent rulings.

For many years, the Internet was the "final frontier," operating largely unregulated -- in part because of the jurisdictional nightmare involved in trying to enforce laws when communications crossed not just state lines but also national boundaries. That was then; this is now. Legislation that affects the use of Internet-connected computers is springing up everywhere at the local, state and federal levels. You might be violating one of them without even knowing.

In this article, we'll take a look at some of the existing laws and some of the pending legislation that can influence how we use our computers and the Internet. Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice; this is merely an overview of some of the legislation that's out there, how it has been interpreted by the courts (if applicable), and possible implications for computer users.

Note: This article is also available as a PDF download.

1: Digital Millennium Copyright (DMCA) Act

Most computer users have heard of this law, signed in 1998 by President Clinton, implementing two World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties. The DMCA makes it a criminal offense to circumvent any kind of technological copy protection -- even if you don't violate anyone's copyright in doing so. In other words, simply disabling the copy protection is a federal crime.

There are some exemptions, such as circumventing copy protection of programs that are in an obsolete format for the purpose of archiving or preservation. But in most cases, using any sort of anti-DRM program is illegal. This applies to all sorts of copy-protected files, including music, movies, and software. You can read a summary of the DMCA here.

If you're a techie who likes the challenge of trying to "crack" DRM, be aware that doing so -- even if you don't make or distribute illegal copies of the copyrighted material -- is against the law.

2: No Electronic Theft (NET) Act

This is another U.S. federal law that was passed during the Clinton administration. Prior to this act, copyright violations were generally treated as civil matters and could not be prosecuted criminally unless it was done for commercial purposes. The NET Act made copyright infringement itself a federal criminal offense, regardless of whether you circumvent copy-protection technology and whether you derive any commercial benefit or monetary gain. Thus, just making a copy of a copyrighted work for a friend now makes you subject to up to five years in prison and/or up to $250,000 in fines. This is the law referred to in the familiar "FBI Warning" that appears at the beginning of most DVD movies. You can read more about the NET Act here.

Many people who consider themselves upstanding citizens and who would never post music and movies to a P2P site think nothing of burning a copy of a song or TV show for a friend. Unfortunately, by the letter of the law, the latter is just as illegal as the former.

3: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)

This treaty is still in negotiation between the United States, European Commission, Switzerland, Japan, Australia, Canada, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates. The most recent round of negotiations took place in Mexico in January 2010, and the next is scheduled for April 2010 in New Zealand.

As with the DMCA, many regard the ACTA as a workaround for governments to impose regulations and penalties through international treaties that they would not be able to pass into law through their regular legislative processes. ACTA covers a number of areas, including counterfeit products and generic medicines, but the part that affects computer users is the chapter titled "Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights."

Although the treaty negotiations are conducted in secret, a leaked document indicated that one provision in the treaty would force ISPs to give information about customers suspected of copyright infringement without requiring a warrant. According to reports, another provision would allow customs agents to conduct random searches of laptops, MP3 players, and cell phones for illegally downloaded or ripped music and movies. Not surprisingly, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is a supporter of the treaty. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) opposes it, as does the Free Software Foundation. You can read the EFF's stance on ACTA here.

4: Court rulings regarding border searches

Most Americans are aware of the protections afforded by the U.S. Constitution's fourth amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures. In general, this means that the government cannot search your person, home, vehicle, or computer without probable cause to believe that you've engaged in some criminal act.

What many don't know is that there are quite a few circumstances that the Courts, over the years, have deemed to be exempt from this requirement. One of those occurs when you enter the United States at the border. In April 2008, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the right of Customs officers to search laptops and other digital devices at the border (the definition of which extends to any international airport when you are coming into the country) without probable cause or even the lesser standard of reasonable suspicion. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and other groups strongly disagree with the ruling. You can read more on the EFF Web site.

Meanwhile, be aware that even though you've done nothing illegal and are not even suspected of such, the entire contents of your portable computer, PDA, or smart phone can be accessed by government agents when you enter the Unites States. So if you have anything on your hard drive that could be embarrassing, you might want to delete it before crossing the border.

5: State and federal laws regarding access to networks

Many states have criminal laws that prohibit accessing any computer or network without the owner's permission. For example, in Texas, the statute is Penal Code section 33.02, Breach of Computer Security. It says, "A person commits an offense if the person knowingly accesses a computer, computer network or computer system without the effective consent of the owner." The penalty grade ranges from misdemeanor to first degree felony (which is the same grade as murder), depending on whether the person obtains benefit, harms or defrauds someone, or alters, damages, or deletes files.

The wording of most such laws encompass connecting to a wireless network without explicit permission, even if the Wi-Fi network is unsecured. The inclusion of the culpable mental state of "knowing" as an element of the offense means that if your computer automatically connects to your neighbor's wireless network instead of your own and you aren't aware of it, you haven't committed a crime. But if you decide to hop onto the nearest unencrypted Wi-Fi network to surf the Internet, knowing full well that it doesn't belong to you and no one has given you permission, you could be prosecuted under these laws.

A Michigan man was arrested for using a café's Wi-Fi network (which was reserved for customers) from his car in 2007. Similar arrests have been made in Florida, Illinois, Washington, and Alaska.

The federal law that covers unauthorized access is Title 18 U.S.C. Section 1030, which prohibits intentionally accessing a computer without authorization or exceeding authorized access. But it applies to "protected computers," which are defined as those used by the U.S. government, by a financial institution, or used in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce. In addition to fines and imprisonment, penalties include forfeiture of any personal property used to commit the crime or derived from proceeds traceable to any violation. You can read the text of that section here.

In a recent case regarding unauthorized access, a high profile lawsuit was filed against a school district in Pennsylvania by students who alleged that district personnel activated their school-issued laptops in their homes and spied on them with the laptops' webcams. The FBI is investigating to determine whether any criminal laws were broken. Because the school district owned the computers, there is controversy over whether they had the right to remotely access them without the permission of the users.

6: "Tools of a crime" laws

Some states have laws that make it a crime to possess a "criminal instrument" or the "tool of a crime." Depending on the wording of the law, this can be construed to mean any device that is designed or adapted for use in the commission of an offense. This means you could be arrested and prosecuted, for example, for constructing a high gain wireless antenna for the purpose of tapping into someone else's Wi-Fi network, even if you never did in fact access a network. Several years ago, a California sheriff's deputy made the news when he declared Pringles can antennas illegal under such a statute.

7: Cyberstalking and Cyberbullying laws

Stalking is a serious crime and certainly all of us are in favor of laws that punish stalkers. As Internet connectivity has become ubiquitous, legislatures have recognized that it's possible to stalk someone from afar using modern technology. Some of the "cyberstalking" laws enacted by the states, however, contain some pretty broad language.

For example, the Arkansas law contains a section titled "Unlawful computerized communications" that makes it a crime to send a message via email or other computerized communication system (Instant Messenger, Web chat, IRC, etc.) that uses obscene, lewd, or profane language, with the intent to frighten, intimidate, threaten, abuse, or harass another person. Some of the lively discussions on mailing lists and Web boards that deteriorate into flame wars could easily fall under that definition. Or how about the furious email letter you sent to the company that refused to refund your money for the shoddy product you bought?

Closely related are the laws against cyberbullying. Such laws have been passed by some states and local governments. In April 2009, the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act (H.R. 1966) was introduced in the U.S. Congress. The act would make it a federal crime to "intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to another person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated and hostile behavior." Subcommittee hearings have been held and the bill is continuing through the legislative process.

Opponents of the proposed law point out that the language is open to interpretation, and could be construed to apply to someone who merely gets into heated discussions on a web board or email list. The best policy is to watch your language when sending any type of electronic communications. Not only can a loss of temper when you're online come back to embarrass you, it could even get you thrown in jail.

8: Internet gambling laws

Like to play poker online or bet on the horse races from the comfort of your home? The federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 criminalizes acceptance of funds from bettors -- but what about the bettors themselves? Are they committing a crime?

Under this federal law, the answer is no, but some state laws do apply to the person placing the bet. For example, a Washington law passed in 2006 makes gambling on the Internet a felony. The King County Superior Court just recently upheld that law, although challengers have vowed to take it to the Supreme Court. Be sure to check out the state and local laws before you make that friendly online bet.

9: Child pornography laws

We all want to protect children and keep pedophiles away from them, but could you be arrested for possession of child pornography or for exposing children to pornography even though you would never voluntarily indulge in such a thing? Unfortunately, as the laws are written and enforced, the answer is "yes." In January 2007, a substitute teacher in Norwich, CT, was convicted of four felony pornography charges, although she claimed the offending pictures were the result of pop-ups and that she did not knowingly access the Web sites in question. The conviction was set aside after forensics and security experts examined her hard drive and found the school's antivirus software was out of date and the computer had no anti-spyware, firewall, or pop-up blocking technology. The teacher ended up pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge.

Pornographic images of children are illegal to possess. This includes not just photographs of actual children, but also computer-generated pictures and drawings in which no real people are involved and photos of models who are of adult age but look like children. There are many ways such images can get on a computer. Viruses can infect your system and allow another person to remotely access your hard drive. Your computer can be taken over to become a bot, controlled by someone else without your knowledge. Someone can email you an illegal image. You can click a link on a non-pornographic Web site that takes you to a site where the illegal images are displayed, and they're then downloaded into your Web cache on your hard drive.

In another 2007 case, a 16-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and got 18 months probation and over a quarter of a million dollars in legal fees, even though he passed polygraph tests in which he denied knowledge of the images and an examination of the hard drive found more than 200 infected files and no firewall.

10: Pro IP Act

Returning to the copyright front, the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act (Pro IP Act), which was signed into law in 2008, imposes stricter penalties for copyright infringement. It created a new position of "copyright enforcement czar" (formally called the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator) in the federal bureaucracy and gives law enforcement agents the right to seize property from copyright infringers.

This may all sound fine in theory, but when you look at the way other seizure and forfeiture laws have been applied (for instance, the ability of drug enforcement officers to seize houses, computers, cars, cash, and just about everything else that belongs to someone tagged as a suspected drug dealer -- and in some cases, not returning the property even when the person is acquitted or not prosecuted), it makes many people wary. Read more about the bill here.

Some local jurisdictions have also established seizure authority for piracy. In September 2009, Victoria Espinel was appointed as the first copyright czar. She has asked for public input by March 24, 2010.


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About

Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MCSE, MVP is a technology consultant, trainer, and writer who has authored a number of books on computer operating systems, networking, and security. Deb is a tech editor, developmental editor, and contributor to over 20 add...

264 comments
janefairfax18
janefairfax18

I knew about the need to be careful when it came to online gambling laws. I had a friend who unintentionally got in some trouble on that front a while back. The rest of these were new to me, though. I will have to be careful for sure. It might be a good idea to consult with a lawyer, just to make sure I am in the clear.

http://www.andrewbthieleandco.com.au

justanotherfool
justanotherfool

WHEN YOUR COMPUTER CAN BE HIJACKED , INFORMATION PLACED THERE WITHOUT YOUR KNOWLEDGE OR OTHER DECEPTIVE MEANS OF DATA THAT WAS IN NO WAY WANTED BECOMES THE LIABILITY OF THE DEVICE OWNER THERE IS NO AMOUNT OF BEING INFORMED THAT WOULD BE 100% EFFECTIVE IN COMBATING THE RISK OF PROSECUTION. THE PROBLEM SEEMS TO BE THE WAY THE LEGAL SYSTEM IN THIS COUNTRY IS JUST A TOOL FOR MANY TO GET RICH AND QUICKLY EVERYTHING IS STARTING TO HAVE THE POTENTIAL IN ONE WAY OR THE OTHER OF LANDING ANYONE IN RUIN OR IMPRISONMENT. I SIMPLY CANT TELL WHETHER ITS FEAR OF BECOMING THE FOCUS OF AN INVESTIGATION BROUGHT ON FROM TRYING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE OR APATHY THAT IS ALLOWING US TO DO NOTHING WHEN ITS CLEAR THAT INNOCENT FOLKS ARE BEING VICTIMIZED BY THE SYSTEM THATS SUPPOSED TO PROTECT THEM BUT IT SEEMS LIKELY IF NOTHING CHANGES SOON THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY WILL NO LONGER HAVE ANY ABILITY TO PREVENT THIS FROM ITS CLEAR DESTINATION. IF IT WERE BEIN INFORMED THAT COULD PROTECT US THEN I THINK FIRST THERE NEED BE A CRASH COARSE ON WORLD HISTORY .

robbhardy31
robbhardy31

Deb, if more people understood what they are getting themselves into on the internet we'd have less to worry about I think. I think it's safe to say that most people get into trouble unintentionally. It seems important to get well informed about the laws about one of the tools most of us use everyday. If we don't we may find ourselves in situations we wish we weren't in and may need help to get out of them.

http://www.sollandcompany.ca/en/criminal_law.html 

kentclark1
kentclark1

This is good information to have. I don't think a lot of people understand the law well enough. Many don't even realize they are breaking it until it is too late. Maybe everyone should read this. http://www.igotscott.com 

caaseyboostjones
caaseyboostjones

Wow, I didn't realize there were so many ways to get criminal charges on the computer.  My buddy does a lot of this stuff.  I better tell him to smarten up or start looking for a criminal defense attorney!

http://www.schurmanlaw.com/ 

CeBeTech
CeBeTech

Using a computer, possessing data, etc. should NEVER be crimes.

It should only be a crime to commit an ACTUAL crime and use a computer or anything else to do it.

Crime = causing harm, in general terms, though every type of harm is not a crime, nor should it be.

Many types of harm are civil matters, some are simply moral or religious matters.

VeeH
VeeH

What is happening in this world.

Vee595
Vee595

Wow this is crazy. Especially #9!!

Yookreels
Yookreels

I accidentally entered in the wrong username in the twitter forgot password username section. I thought i was on an different site. Is that considered illegal?

56Wrecker
56Wrecker

SOME of this "information" is purely speculative....and would NOT "hold-up" in Court. Granted...it is usually BEST to avoid "potential" trouble. But this article seems to me to be engaged in "Fear-Mongering" which is NOT BENEFICIAL or Informative to the reader. My 2 pesos worth.

adam
adam

Judging by all the comments posted on this subject and the content therein, maybe the title should read "10 ways you might be breaking the law by breathing." I don't think the author meant to uncap such a large can of worms as he was pointing out all the of the "illegal" things everyday people do with their computers without giving it a second thought. That is not to say that I don't agree with most of the comments made. The truth of the matter is that the computer and the Internet in general have damaged small businesses to a point where they may never recover, not to mention the civilized world as a whole. If enough people realized this fact alone, it may become illegal to own a computer.

Artty Sie
Artty Sie

Google cryptainer, it allows you to store all your sensitive data in one single secure encrypted file, which you can give any name you want (myvacation.mpeg). Even if this file would somehow be scrutinized, thanks to the Fifth Amendment, they cannot force you to disclose the password. There are many similar softwares but choose one that is based outside of the US, to avoid any backdoor provisions the FBI might have imposed.

cgaston6
cgaston6

Then, according to some of these laws, all MP3 players and their content are also "illegal"!! RIGHT??

chassman2
chassman2

I HAVE A COMPUTER... THERFORE I HAVE THE TOOLS.... I THINK, THEREFORE IT CAN BE CLAIMED I HAVE INTENT... GUILTY! TAKE ME AWAY....

leo8888
leo8888

Remember the old days when so many people had boom boxes with cassette decks? I used to record all my favorite songs from the radio, make mix tapes and share them with friends. I guess under today's laws I would be serving time right now...

KarrasB
KarrasB

If you're rich you're innocent, if you're poor you're guilty. Very few exceptions.

rroberto18
rroberto18

...when you ripped it from your own cds or bought it without drm as sold legally by many online services? do you go into court with jewel boxes and receipts? the riaa has driven away cd-buyers....figures don't lie they have also killed the 'album' as a result since the 'single' or track is the format of choice (just like it was prior to the late 50s)... and now they want radio to pay for playing music? are the labels trying to get back the payola they paid in the past to get airplay? the music biz could have benefited from the net but they were too busy suing their customers

kaspencer
kaspencer

Just a little too USA centred for me. Just as "Oranges are not the Only Fruit", the USA is not the only country.

vucliriel
vucliriel

One of the reasons I am happy to live outside of the US (to I think I even considered moving there until 9-11!) Look at what is happening in the US and its cronies today, and you can find all the parallels in Fascist Europe of the 1930s. The only difference is this police state won't be killing you summarily, it will just lock you up in an overcrowded prison system. I personally don't let these dictatorial laws bully me into fear and submission. I certainly will continue to use my computer the way I see fit. Those laws are even worse that the evil they are supposed to be protecting us from, and are just another pretext to enrich lawyers and large corporations for useless content and services that have absolutely no benefit for people and are simply aimed at milking consumers and keeping them in line with the governing orthodoxy. If these laws were actually to be applied, most users would be found guilty of breaking at least one of them and would at least suffer legal extortion if not outright sent to prison. Heck, the US has the largest prison system in the world. A few million new inmates shouldn't be a problem.

karenc
karenc

"Some states have laws that make it a crime to possess a ?criminal instrument? or the ?tool of a crime.? " so basically any halfway decent sysadmin, or tech support bod is well and truly stuffed as quite a lot of the tools they use can be used to break into computer systems, reset passwords, look at network data and scavenge data from systems all of which can be subverted for illicit purposes possession of the tools and knowledge of how to use them do not imply intent to commit a crime

ihdaniels
ihdaniels

The Patriot Act is a potent and dangerous cocktail for the abuse of power, these laws are the "straw" that's used to mix it. Any who are unaware of these laws or who have flunked the Bar, can find themselves in a whole lot of trouble to say the least.

Al_nyc
Al_nyc

Just goes to show how stupid some of our law makers are. Many will laugh at these laws up to the point where law enforcement uses one of them against you. Just read the 10th item where it mentions the seizure and forfeiture law. Focus on the part where it says that even after you are found not guilty of what you are suspected of doing wrong, you may not get your property back. This is routinely abused by police departments who get to keep the seized property. So they have lots of reasons to seize your property and say it is because they suspect you are a drug dealer.

bblackmoor
bblackmoor

This article should be titled "10 reasons current copyright laws need to be abolished".

jmay
jmay

Any chance of a UK version

w7fxh
w7fxh

Welcome to the communist states of America lead by Comrade Obama. Sure wish we still had the Constitution.

aandruli
aandruli

According to these laws, you would have to have permission to browse to every website before you actually go to that website. Every website is actually software, most are copyrighted, and browsing one creates a copy of it on your computer. You've illegally copied our copyrighted software!!!!!

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

Digital Millennium Copyright (DMCA) Act is one of those laws that is both anti-thetical to patent and copyright laws; as well as being a frontal attack on owner's fair use. Tyranny at it's finest, deserving of civil disobedience in all cases, and lethal armed resistance in some.

Sheldont
Sheldont

As to the schools spying on the students through the web-cams school issued laptops. Wouldn't that be the same as putting illegal surveillance equipment in someones home. If it is not legal for law-enforcement to do so, then why would it be legal for a school to do so?

gbaltusk
gbaltusk

In item 5 you stated that Title 18 U.S.C. Section 1030, "applies to "protected computers," which are defined as those used by the U.S. government, by a financial institution, or used in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce." This is incorrect. The key term is "protected computer" which by the courts definition is ANY computer that is connected to the Internet. In this day and age, this means that almost any computer is covered by this law.

revlarry
revlarry

If you haven't done something to lock down your system, I believe that you are effectively consenting to anyone and everyone accessing your system. Securing your WiFi is your responsibility. And basic encryption for doing so only gets easier and easier to set up as the years have gone by, so there's less of an excuse now than ever -- except for the excuse which is this stupid law. Humans use tools all the time, and knowing how to use them correctly should be a matter of personal responsibility.

bornwithapen
bornwithapen

so does this mean that when a anti virus company claims that your computer is infected and you need to purchase their software to remove the supposed malware, these companies can be prosecuted for putting this garbage on your system?

kjs420
kjs420

I think America is a terrorist state. They break major laws, or rights, to make petty little, vague, other laws, that break yet, other laws. and how do our laws apply to other countries, they don't. These illegal warrant less searches, are now legal cause "they say so", I don't think so. All these asinine laws, have made America a terrorist lead country.

markharlow
markharlow

Best not to have a computer,smartphone or internet access or you could be breaking the law, ignorance is no excuse even if you are I.T. and Law Professional. Bring back the Stone-age

lcsukas
lcsukas

I don't really understand the fuss about "them taking my freedom". If you are an ordenary user having nothing to hide, you shouldn't care about these laws. These are meant to protect you, your family and your children. What's the freedomn in stealing intellectual properties of other companies/people, storing/viewing child porn, hacking networks and PCs, etc? I actually like that Canadian law. I never even accidentally come accross child porn sites, never received anything like that in email. So, if you do come accross it accidentaly, you report it and you're a good citizen. If you visited it intentionally, well, there's another law they can hang you out to dry. Which I absolutely support.

BroadcastArashi
BroadcastArashi

Gee. I'm so glad that I don't live in U.S.A. How come there's so many copyright laws? They suck too. If you want to circumvent copy protection to make a backup, you've commited a crime. That's crazy. So what if you want to copy songs from a CD and circumvent the CDs copy protection scheme by ripping them to MP3 to play on your portable media player? Bam. Gotcha again. So you can have your privacy compromised through your ISP by some copyright gestapo? Great. Yeah, stopping cyberbulling and cyberstalking is great. But being prosecuted for having a heated argument? Somehow that doesn't quite fit into cyberbullying or cyberstalking if you ask me. So you bet a dinner on who can get the highest score in Space Invaders, and bam you're in jail again. You can be thrown in jail for having your computer compromised and having child porn or whatever crap put on there? It doesn't even have to be pictures of minors, it just has to "look like" they're minors. So even if you view what you believe to be perfectly legal porn, that young 21 year old picture can get you sent to jail. Sounds like they enjoy prosecuting people over there so much that now they have to prosecute the victims of computer crime too. All it takes is to have your computer compromised. So, I could get revenge on someone by having them be sent to jail for child porn by somehow putting a sexually explicit picture of a legal, but young looking person on their computer. Wow. They'd probably get the crap beaten out of them too.

fwcolb
fwcolb

I have heard that the US Customs frequently confiscates laptops of business visitors from the UK. Could anyone comment on this?

chaz15
chaz15

The ONLY law worth anything that needs enforcement is to stop child (ie under about 13) pornography and paedophiles. For the other 9 IDIOT laws, they either come into the "I never do anything however slightly against STUPID laws" or "I have a lot of money and THINK I have power over you". REALITY CHECK MORON COMPANIES and even bigger MORONS who work for those companies, oh and MORON lawyers and MORON politicians.

philwright001
philwright001

Glad I don't live in the USA because those laws are very authoritarian and dictitorial. Ironic for the so-called land of the Free...

madmalc567
madmalc567

Not any more by the sound of it!

adam
adam

As long as there are laws that prevent people from doing thing, there will always be someone out there who will try to get around it.

xmechanic
xmechanic

Quote: "This includes not just photographs of actual children, but also computer-generated pictures and drawings in which no real people are involved and photos of models who are of adult age but look like children." Just for general info, the clause about 'virtual' (i.e. rendered) and/or drawn images was struck down in federal court in 2002. http://www.freedomforum.org/templates/document.asp?documentID=16075 Note: Please replace the '

bbbaldie_z
bbbaldie_z

pfffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffft.............. Sort of like the laws that forbid you from riding a donkey on Main Street on Sunday. Illegal, yes, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

santeewelding
santeewelding

That TR is the place for original content, though, I wish it were so. Can you see how you are unoriginal? Can you see how you chime with what you rail in second-person against?

cas.tuyn
cas.tuyn

This is exactly why I avoid the USA when I travel. I'm no criminal or terrorist, and certainly do not look forward to being treated like one or handing over my personal files and phones/computers long enough to miss my connecting flight.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

Yesterday I got hit by one of these malware programs.It was a virus scanner that would not let me boot up into Windows.I restarted the computer and the scanner would start up before Windows started.The scanner could not be closed out,it just was stuck there. They wanted me to register and purchase the program.I let the scanner run and I noticed that a prompt popped up saying that my computer was being attack by spammers.After the scanner stopped the pop up told me that over one thousand spam e-mails had entered my computer.The pop up displayed the ip addresses of each spammer.The e-mails could be deleted only after the software program was registered and purchased.The entire time my computer was disconnected from the Internet at the phone plug.My conclusion is that the spam could somehow be in my computer.If this spam rate is true computers are under a heavy onslaught and this onslaught does not come from the telephone lines.The other conclusion is that the program generates fraudulent numbers.

Slayer_
Slayer_

We got a great one in Canada, if you see child pornography, its illegal to not report it. Which of course then incriminates yourself when you report it, which I am pretty sure goes against another law. Meaning they conflict.

Oldmanmike
Oldmanmike

Good article, but why do I receive confirmation e-mails when I download PDFs? Is there any way to turn that off? To be honest, it seems like the download process is unnecessarily cumbersome to begin with. Click here, click here if your download didn't start automatically, etc. Why not allow more streamlined downloading? I know you're trying to keep track of what's being downloaded by whom, but it seems that you could do it with less impact on the readers.

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