How you can break the law with a click of a button.
Do you believe you are a law-abiding citizen? Do you frown upon criminals and their lifestyles? Don’t answer yes too quickly. You could be breaking the law through your daily internet activities and not even be aware of it.
Here are seven illegal activities people are guilty of, without even realising it:
- Using Torrent services to acquire copyright material
Whether you prefer Game of Thrones or Frank Sinatra, downloading television series, music or movies is a rather common practice now days. However, using Torrent services to get these series for free is a criminal act and a major challenge for the music and film industry.
Torrent services allow users to tap into the resources other people have on their computers. It then downloads part of the files until your computer’s hard drive eventually has the whole thing.
But why do Torrent service exist if you aren’t meant to use it for series or music? Well, the reason Torrent services are not illegal, is because you can potentially use them to get non-copyrighted material.
Sending spam mail.
Not a week goes past where spam emails don’t make their way to your inbox. In fact, there are times where you are tempted to distribute some yourself. Especially when you are trying to promote something and want to get people’s attention.
However, spamming people is illegal according to the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Despite the rather misleading name, it enforces hefty fines if an individual is found guilty of spamming. So be wary before sending spam emails.
- Fake news.
Fake news is unfortunately more commonplace than it should be. Due to it being so popular, many people don’t see any harm in writing a bogus story. But why are fake news stories so popular?
The purpose of these stories is to hurt a person’s reputation, and this is where the problem comes in. Coming up with phony news, as well as producing any defamatory online content is illegal. Major sites, including Facebook, are cracking down on it. People caught will face the consequences of their actions.
Using photos from Google…This one should be a no brainer.
Google is a wonderful search engine. But just because it offers you scores of photos at the click of a button, it does not mean you can use them. In fact, many of the images found via Google have a copyright. By using them on a blog post or any other type of web-based content is illegal.
- Making a website that does not comply with a service agreement. Just another reason why you should never build your own site.
While some internet activities fall into a grey area with their unsavoury content, simply because website hosting services probably make them illegal. The specifics might vary, but if your site has threatening or obscene content, it is most likely a no-no. It is instrumental to read the legalities surrounding a hosting service before you start.
- Impersonating a friend on social media.
While some might think its funny to joke around with their friends’ social media account, be careful how you do it. In some country’s it is illegal to impersonate anyone over social media. Furthermore, you cannot pretend to be someone else to coerce someone to give you money. Impersonating someone to embarrass a person, as well as harming his or her reputation is also barred.
- Collecting personal information about children younger than 13-years-old.
Whether you are opening a toy store or a website for children, you need to be careful about how you go about collecting information. If you are using surveys or other forms of gathering data from children under 13, you are breaking the law.
In fact, you will be violating the Children’s Online Protection Act, an act which is in place for obvious reasons.
Logic and common sense will save you from many issues. However, experience and studying will truly benefit you the most.