These days, more and more aspects of our lives are entering into the digital realm, as many people are documenting their lives on various social networking websites. One social networking company was blocked in their efforts by a California court as they were found in violation of state and federal computer crime laws.
The court recently overturned a court decision by ruling against a new social networking aggregation site. This company's service attempted to bundle all of a person's social networking utilities into one service. However, their efforts were stopped short when a ruling found that they were in violation of both federal and state computer laws for accessing Facebook's services without the appropriate permissions.
Critics have stepped up to criticize this recent legal decision. They assert that this company will face serious legal penalties only because social networking companies, such as Facebook, desire to diffuse any competition. They also view this as an attempt to criminalize actions that have not even taken place. Apparently, this effort, undertaken by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, would make it illegal for individuals to create digital tools that would work around "technological barriers," even if they are not used for that purpose.
As social networking services and other online utilities become more prevalent in everyday life, it will be important for those involved in developing digital services to be abreast of any federal laws governing computer and Internet crimes. Federal officials will proceed to look into these types of digital crimes with intensity. As such, it has become necessary to consider employing the counsel of a legal professional when entering the social networking industry.
Not only does this case reveal the importance of being informed of federal Internet regulations, but it also shows the importance of a solid legal defense when you become embroiled in a computer crime investigation, especially since those involved with this company could be facing serious penalties.
Source: SC Magazine, "Start-up falls afoul of computer crime laws," Feb. 23, 2012