Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act – Felonies and Misdemeanors

The words “computer crime” generally conjures one of two ideas: high-tech espionage or child pornography. However, in Oklahoma these take on a much broader approach. From online solicitation of a minor and other internet sex crimes to hacking and fraud, these crimes in Oklahoma are clearly defined by the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act (21 O.S. 1951 et. seq.). Section 1953 of the Oklahoma Statutes deems the following to be criminal offenses: (partial list)

1. Willfully, and without authorization, gain or attempt to gain access to and damage, modify, alter, delete, destroy, copy, make use of, disclose or take possession of a computer, network or any other property;

2. Use a computer or any other property as defined for the purpose of devising or executing a scheme or artifice with the intent to defraud, deceive, extort or for the purpose of controlling or obtaining money, property, services or other thing of value by means of a false or fraudulent pretense or representation;

3. Willfully exceed the limits of authorization and damage, modify, alter, destroy, copy, delete, disclose or take possession of a computer, computer system, computer network or any other property;

4. Willfully and without authorization, gain or attempt to gain access to a computer, computer system, computer network or any other property;

Under the Oklahoma law, some of these crimes are misdemeanor offenses, but most of the offenses are felonies. Misdemeanors include:

• Accessing a computer or network without authorization
• Using or allowing the use of a computer service without authorization
• Using a computer, computer system, or computer network to abuse, threaten, or harass another individual

The six remaining crimes are felonies. Some specific examples of CPU crime include internet fraud; computer sexual exploitation; copyright piracy (illegally downloading music, for example); hacking; and development and distribution of viruses, worms, bots, spyware, and malware.

Along with the increasing access to computers and the internet comes increased responsibility for ethical use of technology. By abusing the privileges of technology through internet sex crimes and other computer crimes, one risks the consequences of conviction. Conviction of a misdemeanor computer crime in Oklahoma is can result in a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and up to $5,000 in fines. Oklahoma computer crime felonies are punishable by fines of $5,000 to $100,000 and a maximum prison sentence of ten years. Additionally those convicted are also subject to civil lawsuits as well as criminal charges.

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