The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: A New Perspective: Let the Punishment Fit the Damage


Joseph P. Daly


VOL. XII • October 1993 • NO. 3 (table of contents)

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This comment discusses computer virus crimes under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986. More specifically, it addresses the inadequate sentencing scheme of this act. The comment first discusses computer viruses in general and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The comment proposes a new sentencing scheme by which individual sentences would be allocated according to the damages caused by a computer virus propagator. It also illustrates the utility of such a scheme in both current criminal and civil law. It then discusses the ways in which computer virus damages can be quantified. The conclusion of this comment is that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, while a potentially effective tool for prosecuting people who design and spread computer viruses, needs to be amended in order to set punishments which correspond with the damages caused by each particular virus.

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