The Misuse of Computers
By Chan Yu Meng
I am sure by now that many of you would have read in the news not too long ago about two lawyers being charged in Court with offences under the Computer Misuse Act (Cap.50A) for unauthorised copying of computer files from their employer's computer systems after they had tendered their resignations. Or how about the case of the seventeen year old student who was sentence to two months imprisonment for committing offences also under the Computer Misuse Act? He pleaded guilty to charges of hacking into a computer system to obtain free internet services. Come to think of it, a lot of us use computers in our everyday lives, especially at work. Yet most of us know little about the Computer Misuse Act (the "Act") and some of us may even be breaking the law without knowing it. So what is this Act all about and how does it affect us? Types of offences under the Act
In general terms, the Act sets out a few types of criminal offences most of which involve the unauthorised use of computers, namely: access to computer material; modification to computer material; use or interception of computer service; obstruction of use of computer; and disclosure of access code. Another criminal offence covered by the Act deals with the access of computers with the intent to commit or facilitate the commission of an offence. Unauthorised access to computer material
It is an offence if a person knowingly changes, erases, copies, moves, prints or even uses a program or data in a computer without permission. The sentence on conviction is a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or both. Examples of this type of offence include the copying or deletion by the employee of client data and sales information from a company after his permission to do so has been revoked. Unauthorised modification of computer material
This is an offence whereby a person knowingly and without authority does an act which causes the...
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