Olliers Solicitors are a criminal defence law firm based in Manchester and London with a specialist internet and cyber law team dealing with revenge porn, hacking, cyber terrorism and cyber stalking.
Revenge porn was made an offence under section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015. Previously, such cases were prosecuted under the Communications Act 2003, Malicious Communications Act 1988 or the Harassment Act 1997.
Revenge Porn is the sharing of private sexual material, either photos or videos, of another person without their consent and with the purpose of causing embarrassment or distress. The images are sometimes accompanied by personal information about the subject, including their full name, address and links to their social media profiles.
The offence applies both online and offline and to images which are shared electronically or in a more traditional way so includes the uploading of images on the internet, sharing by text and e-mail, or showing someone a physical or electronic image.
Hacking and Cyber Terrorism
Hacking is the misuse of computers. The Computer Misuse Act 1980 legislates for three offences:
- Unauthorised access to computer material;
- Unauthorised access to computer material with intent to commit, or facilitate the commission of, a further offence.
- Unauthorised modification of computer material
The Terrorism Act 2000 allowed for an action designed seriously to interfere with, or seriously to disrupt, an electronic system to be categorised as a terrorist action if both of the following conditions are satisfied:
- It is designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public; and
- It is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.
For more information on cyber related terrorist offences click here.
Identity Theft and Phishing Scams
Identity theft involves the theft of someone’s personal details and can be carried out by a number of different methods. These include:
- Trashing – obtaining discarded documents from rubbish bins, or stealing documents from their owner.
- Phishing – sending emails purporting to be from a reputable organisation, in order to trick victims into revealing their personal information.
- Smishing – sending SMS text messages to trick victims into revealing their personal information.
- Vishing – using the telephone system to trick victims into revealing their personal information.
Although identity theft is not a specific criminal offence, there are a number of other criminal offences which may be charged in cases of identity theft and fraud. These include: theft, fraud by false representation, possession of articles for use in fraud, obtaining services dishonestly and false accounting.
Identity theft is also linked to the commission of other fraud offences such as credit card fraud, bank fraud, tax rebate fraud, benefit fraud and telecommunications fraud.
The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 created two new offences of stalking by inserting new sections into The Protection from Harassment Act 1997. This includes harassment over the internet sometimes defined as Cyber Stalking.
It is generally defined as the repeated use of electronic communications to harass or frighten someone, for example by sending threatening emails or forcing contact through social media.