The Fraud Act 2006

On 15 January 2007, the Fraud Act 2006 came into force and created three ways of committing a new offence of fraud:

  • Fraud by false representation
  • Fraud by failing to disclose information
  • Fraud by abuse of position

In each case, the defendant’s conduct must be dishonest with the intention of making a gain, or must cause a loss (or the risk of a loss) to another person or individual. Crucially, no actual gain or loss needs to be proved – the fraud might have been unsuccessful or it was stopped before it could take place. These offences are ‘triable either way’ and can be tried in the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court, with a maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment.

The fraud offences have a wide scope in that that they can be committed by a person outside of England and Wales. If you are accused of committing a fraud offence under the Fraud Act outside of this country, it is crucial that you take specialist advice, including advice on the issue of jurisdiction. Continue reading “The Fraud Act 2006”

The Computer Misuse Act of 1990

The Computer Misuse Act was enacted in the wake of the high profile hack in 1988 of a mailbox belonging to The Duke of Edinburgh by Robert Schifreen and Stephen Gold.

Prestel screenshot
Prestel screenshot

Prestel was a text-based interactive information system developed by the UK Post Office in the late 1970s. Users could browse numbered pages of text (similar to the contemporaneous Ceefax and Teletext information services) on their television as well as send electronic messages to other Prestel users. Prestel services were expensive and the system did not become widely used, although Prestel technology was sold to many other telecom companies. Prestel was gradually sold off in the early 1990s as the internet became available to domestic users. Continue reading “The Computer Misuse Act of 1990”

Google Settlement

The search engine is reported quaking in its boots about the prospect of receiving a huge fine from the European Union for its anti-trust antics. The company has confirmed that it would settle antitrust charges following an ultimatum by the European regulators who investigated its business practices.

Joaquin Almunia, the Competition Commissioner of the European Union, set an early July deadline for the search giant to resolve the concerns of over a dozen competitors, one of which is Microsoft.

The representative of the search engine, Al Verney, told in the interview that Google had made a proposal to address the 4 areas the European Commission regarded as concerns. Those 4 areas seem to have come from the European watchdog that barked about the engine’s business practices after an 18-month long investigation.

Meanwhile, Antoine Colombani (a spokesperson for Almunia) confirmed that the watchdog of the European Union had got a letter from the search engine’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt. However, nothing was said about the watchdog being satisfied yet.

They argue that the search giant may have favored its own search services over its competitors, including Microsoft. Besides, it may have also copied travel and restaurant reviews from the rivals’ websites without their permission.

An allegation is that the engine’s advertising deals with various websites effectively stopped its competitors from operating. At the same time, its contractual restrictions managed to prevent advertisers from moving their Internet campaigns away from the company.

FairSearch, whose members are Internet travel agencies and Google complainants Expedia and TripAdvisor, is hoping that the search engine’s proposals would address these problems.

Anti-Sharing Law will be Rejected

The Office of Management and Budget published an email saying that if the new anti-piracy law known as CISPA reaches the president’s desk in its nowadays form, his senior advisors will recommend him to veto the bill.

The email says that the proposed bill should address critical infrastructure vulnerabilities without having to sacrifice the human rights of the citizens, particularly when the country is facing challenges to economic well-being and national security. Although the Administration of the President wants to engage with the Congress to enact cybersecurity law to tackle these critical issues, if CISPA were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto it.

There are many reasons why the office opposes the suggested legislation, like the bill “significantly departing from long-standing efforts to treat the web as civilian sphere”. In response, the creators of the legislation explained that the recent revisions take into account each criticism levelled by the Administration, especially those about privacy and civil liberties of people.

The legislation is set for a vote before the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, the EFF pointed out that Rep. Rogers is convinced that the CISPA is an information “sharing” law. Although this may sound innocent, the truth is that the bill itself is a surveillance bill as well. Indeed, its provisions allow private companies to monitor network traffic and stored information (like private e-mails) with no oversight or legal accountability.

Moreover, the legislation creates expansive legal immunity, making outfits and the government largely unaccountable to users. So, the law will grant surveillance power to private entities, bypassing the existing rights to sue under other laws. This means that if CISPA passes, the organizations will lose their legal right to protect your privacy, like federal or state privacy laws keeping them from sharing sensitive personal data.

An amendment was proposed to file lawsuits against the federal government if it violates some restrictions on the use of the obtained information, bit in practice it’s meaningless. In fact, it only allows a lawsuit if brought within 2 years of the date of the violation and exempts all information received by the government from the Freedom of Information Act.