U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Computer Crimes

NCJ Number
American Criminal Law Review Volume: 48 Issue: 2 Dated: Spring 2011 Pages: 375-419
Dominic Carucci; David Overhuls; Nicholas Soares
Date Published
45 pages
This article discusses Federal, State, and international developments in computer-related criminal law.
Section I defines computer crimes. The U.S. Department of Justice broadly defines computer crime as "any violations of criminal law that involve knowledge of computer technology for their perpetration, investigation, or prosecution." Types of computer-related offenses are distinguished as computer hardware and software as the "objects of crime" through theft and offenses in which the computer is the "subject of crime." The latter category of computer crime encompasses spam, viruses, worms, Trojan horses, logic bombs, sniffers, distributed denial-of-service attacks, and unauthorized Web bots or spiders. Each of these categories of computer crime is defined and discussed. A section on "General Issues" in computer crime focuses on constitutional issues, jurisdictional issues, and issues that pertain to privacy laws and conflicts between Federal laws and between Federal and State laws. Another section of the article examines the major Federal statutes, enforcement strategies, and constitutional issues regarding computer-related crimes. Attention is given to sentencing guidelines and Federal statutes (child pornography statutes, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003, copyright statutes, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, identity theft, and Wire Fraud statute). Issues in enforcing Federal laws bearing upon computer crime are also addressed. A section on State approaches to computer crime presents an overview of State criminal codes and the prosecution of computer crimes under State law. The article's concluding section reviews international approaches to computer crime, which covers problems in international computer-crime law and solutions to these problems. In addition to increased multinational governmental cooperation, international organizations and private corporations are also working to combat international computer crimes by contributing to the effort to harmonize national legislation. 436 notes