(BA, MBA, JD)
Attorney at Law
Lieutenant Robinson, U.S. Navy Flight Instructor, 1992
All Rights Reserved. Copyright 1999 by Ronald Robinson.
Virginia Divorce and Communication Privacy Crimes
Before you or someone else tapes or taps a home phone or cell phone call, reads someone else's emails, logs into an account that doesn't belong to you, intercepts another person's passwords, places spy software on a computer, or attempts in any other way to obtain communications or information in preparation for or during a divorce case, you may wish to visit the links provided below and/or talk to a lawyer:
Selected Portions of the Virginia Computer Crimes Act
§ 18.2-152.2. Definitions.
For purposes of this article:
"Computer" means a device that accepts information in digital or similar form and manipulates it for a result based on a sequence of instructions. Such term does not include simple calculators, automated typewriters, facsimile machines, or any other specialized computing devices that are preprogrammed to perform a narrow range of functions with minimal end-user or operator intervention and are dedicated to a specific task.
"Computer data" means any representation of information, knowledge, facts, concepts, or instructions which is being prepared or has been prepared and is intended to be processed, is being processed, or has been processed in a computer or computer network. "Computer data" may be in any form, whether readable only by a computer or only by a human or by either, including, but not limited to, computer printouts, magnetic storage media, punched cards, or stored internally in the memory of the computer.
"Computer network" means two or more computers connected by a network.
"Computer operation" means arithmetic, logical, monitoring, storage or retrieval functions and any combination thereof, and includes, but is not limited to, communication with, storage of data to, or retrieval of data from any device or human hand manipulation of electronic or magnetic impulses. A "computer operation" for a particular computer may also be any function for which that computer was generally designed.
"Computer program" means an ordered set of data representing coded instructions or statements that, when executed by a computer, causes the computer to perform one or more computer operations.
"Computer services" means computer time or services, including data processing services, Internet services, electronic mail services, electronic message services, or information or data stored in connection therewith.
"Computer software" means a set of computer programs, procedures and associated documentation concerned with computer data or with the operation of a computer, computer program, or computer network.
"Electronic mail service provider" (EMSP) means any person who (i) is an intermediary in sending or receiving electronic mail and (ii) provides to end-users of electronic mail services the ability to send or receive electronic mail.
"Financial instrument" includes, but is not limited to, any check, draft, warrant, money order, note, certificate of deposit, letter of credit, bill of exchange, credit or debit card, transaction authorization mechanism, marketable security, or any computerized representation thereof.
"Network" means any combination of digital transmission facilities and packet switches, routers, and similar equipment interconnected to enable the exchange of computer data.
"Owner" means an owner or lessee of a computer or a computer network or an owner, lessee, or licensee of computer data, computer programs or computer software.
"Person" shall include any individual, partnership, association, corporation or joint venture.
"Property" shall include:
1. Real property;
2. Computers and computer networks;
3. Financial instruments, computer data, computer programs, computer software and all other personal property regardless of whether they are:
a. Tangible or intangible;
b. In a format readable by humans or by a computer;
c. In transit between computers or within a computer network or between any devices which comprise a computer; or
d. Located on any paper or in any device on which it is stored by a computer or by a human; and
4. Computer services.
A person "uses" a computer or computer network when he attempts to cause or causes a computer or computer network to perform or to stop performing computer operations.
A person is "without authority" when he knows or reasonably should know that he has no right or permission or knowingly acts in a manner exceeding such right or permission.
§ 18.2-152.3. Computer fraud; penalty.
Any person who uses a computer or computer network, without authority and:
1. Obtains property or services by false pretenses;
2. Embezzles or commits larceny; or
3. Converts the property of another;
is guilty of the crime of computer fraud.
If the value of the property or services obtained is $200 or more, the crime of computer fraud shall be punishable as a Class 5 felony. Where the value of the property or services obtained is less than $200, the crime of computer fraud shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
§ 18.2-152.4. Computer trespass; penalty.
A. It shall be unlawful for any person, with malicious intent, to:
1. Temporarily or permanently remove, halt, or otherwise disable any computer data, computer programs or computer software from a computer or computer network;
2. Cause a computer to malfunction, regardless of how long the malfunction persists;
3. Alter, disable, or erase any computer data, computer programs or computer software;
4. Effect the creation or alteration of a financial instrument or of an electronic transfer of funds;
5. Use a computer or computer network to cause physical injury to the property of another;
6. Use a computer or computer network to make or cause to be made an unauthorized copy, in any form, including, but not limited to, any printed or electronic form of computer data, computer programs or computer software residing in, communicated by, or produced by a computer or computer network;
8. Install or cause to be installed, or collect information through, computer software that records all or a majority of the keystrokes made on the computer of another without the computer owner's authorization; or
9. Install or cause to be installed on the computer of another, computer software for the purpose of (i) taking control of that computer so that it can cause damage to another computer or (ii) disabling or disrupting the ability of the computer to share or transmit instructions or data to other computers or to any related computer equipment or devices, including but not limited to printers, scanners, or fax machines.
B. Any person who violates this section is guilty of computer trespass, which shall be a Class 1 misdemeanor. If there is damage to the property of another valued at $1,000 or more caused by such person's act in violation of this section, the offense shall be a Class 6 felony. If a person installs or causes to be installed computer software in violation of this section on more than five computers of another, the offense shall be a Class 6 felony. If a person violates subdivision A 8, the offense shall be a Class 6 felony.
C. Nothing in this section shall be construed to interfere with or prohibit terms or conditions in a contract or license related to computers, computer data, computer networks, computer operations, computer programs, computer services, or computer software or to create any liability by reason of terms or conditions adopted by, or technical measures implemented by, a Virginia-based electronic mail service provider to prevent the transmission of unsolicited electronic mail in violation of this article. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the monitoring of computer usage of, the otherwise lawful copying of data of, or the denial of computer or Internet access to a minor by a parent or legal guardian of the minor.
§ 18.2-152.5. Computer invasion of privacy; penalties.
A. A person is guilty of the crime of computer invasion of privacy when he uses a computer or computer network and intentionally examines without authority any employment, salary, credit or any other financial or identifying information, as defined in clauses (iii) through (xiii) of subsection C of § 18.2-186.3, relating to any other person. "Examination" under this section requires the offender to review the information relating to any other person after the time at which the offender knows or should know that he is without authority to view the information displayed.
B. The crime of computer invasion of privacy shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
C. Any person who violates this section after having been previously convicted of a violation of this section or any substantially similar laws of any other state or of the United States is guilty of a Class 6 felony.
D. Any person who violates this section and sells or distributes such information to another is guilty of a Class 6 felony.
E. Any person who violates this section and uses such information in the commission of another crime is guilty of a Class 6 felony.
F. This section shall not apply to any person collecting information that is reasonably needed to (i) protect the security of a computer, computer service, or computer business, or to facilitate diagnostics or repair in connection with such computer, computer service, or computer business or (ii) determine whether the computer user is licensed or authorized to use specific computer software or a specific computer service.
§ 18.2-152.5:1. Using a computer to gather identifying information; penalties.
A. It is unlawful for any person, other than a law-enforcement officer, as defined in § 9.1-101, and acting in the performance of his official duties, to use a computer to obtain, access, or record, through the use of material artifice, trickery or deception, any identifying information, as defined in clauses (iii) through (xiii) of subsection C of § 18.2-186.3. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a Class 6 felony.
B. Any person who violates this section and sells or distributes such information to another is guilty of a Class 5 felony.
C. Any person who violates this section and uses such information in the commission of another crime is guilty of a Class 5 felony.
§ 18.2-152.7:1. Harassment by computer; penalty.
If any person, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass any person, shall use a computer or computer network to communicate obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, or make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature, or threaten any illegal or immoral act, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
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