Online Acts You May Not Know Are Illegal

Online Acts You May Not Know Are Illegal

You are trying to check Instagram, but are not at home.  So, you find a random, unsecured wifi network.  Score!  You connect and scroll to your heart’s content.  Guess what?  You just broke the law.  The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act criminalizes accessing a computer or website without authorization.  This includes wifi routers.  Your innocent Instagram surf time could get you arrested.

Hutcherson Law’s team of Internet lawyers is here to help you stay safe while using the Internet.  Here are some online acts that could land you in jail.

  1. Connecting to an Unsecured Wireless Network

Remember—it is illegal to connect without authorization!  Though it is relatively uncommon, there have been arrests for using someone else’s Internet in Florida, Illinois, Michigan, and Alaska.  Thus far no one has been charged with a felony, but one man was charged $400 and mandated to complete 40 hours of community service for an unauthorized connection.  $400 to scroll Instagram?  Not worth it.

  1. Using Fake Names

People use fake names on the Internet all the time—but that doesn’t make it legal.  Whether for Facebook accounts, Xbox Live, or a pointless survey that your friend asked you to fill out, using a fake name online in any capacity could get you arrested.  Moreover, you could be charged with the federal crime of hacking, which is punishable for between 5-20 years in prison.  Locked up for a laugh?  No thank you.

  1. GIFs and Memes

Although they are everywhere, GIFs and Memes are often illegal.  GIFs and Memes use images from stock photos and popular culture which are copyrightable.  If the GIF or Meme uses a copyrighted work without permission, it could constitute copyright infringement.  Next time you consider using a GIF or Meme – think twice!  If the owner of the photo decides to take action, you could be liable.

  1. Sharing Subscription Passwords

Do you use your best friend’s mom’s Netflix password?  HBOGo?  Hulu?  Surprise, surprise!  That is illegal too.  It is time to start bank rolling your own Netflix binge sessions before the streaming services start cracking down.

Hutcherson Law’s Internet lawyers understand the complex laws regulating online activity.  Though many people probably break the law every day without even realizing it, there can be serious consequences for illegal activity on the web.  Call us today to review your online activity and make sure that you are safely and legally using the Internet.

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