In the virtual environment of the Internet, it is easy to find oneself on uncertain footing. As Internet crime becomes increasingly pervasive, more and more well-intentioned people will find themselves accused of crimes they may not even be aware exist. Anyone involved in business on the Web needs to know the limits of the law—even as such laws are constantly shifting.
If you find yourself accused of going outside those limits, the knowledge of a Detroit criminal defense lawyer can be essential to protecting your rights.
The boundaries of the law in a borderless Internet
There are many kinds of criminal activity on the Internet, and some cross paths with businesses. These include the following:
- Email spam or illegal bulk emails. Spam emails are unsolicited, and are sent out in bulk, rather than individually. Anyone sending out advertising emails needs to be very careful not to run afoul of their Internet Service Provider’s use policies, let alone the law. Though most kinds of bulk email are protected speech, some may constitute fraudulent or threatening activity and consequently become subject to prosecution.
- The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Anyone circulating material such as music, video, images or even words may inadvertently run afoul of this 1998 law that makes it a crime to bypass barriers built to protect copyright.
- Identity theft. The stealing of a person’s private information for fraudulent purposes and personal gain is and should be a crime. But business transactions sometimes necessarily involve the exchange of such information, leading to confusion.
- Solicitation of a minor. On the Internet, a person can pretend to be anything—including of legal age. If you invite a person to engage in activities that are illegal for a minor under the impression that you are dealing with an adult, you are at risk for an accusation of solicitation.
- Fraud. Just as others can pretend to be anyone, they may misunderstand who you are. Fraud is engaging in an intentional deception; but in a virtual environment, unintentional deception is rife. If your actions or assurances have been misunderstood, you may need a criminal defense attorney to rebut an accusation of fraud.
- Creation, possession or circulation of child pornography. Sexual abuse of children on the Internet is an area where authorities at every level take aggressive action. It is easy for innocent material or inadvertent surfing to put one technically afoul of these very strict laws. Because of their disastrous impact on your reputation, these kinds of accusations demand a criminal defense attorney.