Are You a Hacker?

In the State of the Union address, President Barack Obama introduced his proposed changes to the cyber security laws. What does this mean for you? With Obama's new proposed laws, simply clicking on a link could make you a criminal. Even sharing a password with a friend could get you into more trouble than you'd expect.

Before, hacking was considered something that was meant to defraud someone, with intent to steal money or information about that person. The term that the CFAA (Criminal Fraud and Abuse Act) uses is "exceeds authorized access." The computer being hacked had to contain financial, personal or government information. With these changes the White House has made, anyone who willingly accesses a computer that isn't their own, can now be considered a hacker. This means for example using a work computer for personal reasons could now be considered a crime. By doing this they are basically making an unclear law even more ambiguous. Almost anyone could be considered a hacker with this new definition.

These new proposed broad laws make it even harder to define what a hacker really is. If you sneak a peek at your friends laptop or use a work computer to check Facebook does this make you a criminal? It seems that these laws are aiming to give more prison time for smaller offenses, which would seem unproductive. Although we do not know much about these new laws yet, and it hard to say what will really happen with them, it is always good to know what the laws are. In such a tech savvy day and age, we should be aware of our rights as computer owners, and also as people who are accessing the web daily, using data and putting our personal information into cyberspace.

For more information on these cyber security laws you can go to the white house website:


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