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Nowadays people need to be careful when using computers. Offences go from sending a virus to another computer, to putting abuse on social media sites such as twitter.

The main law which governs this in the UK is the Computer Misuse Act 1990. The main purpose of the act is to “secure computer material against unauthorized access or modification”.

3 key points of the Computer Misuse Act 1990;

  • Preventing unauthorized access to computer materials.
  • Preventing unauthorized access where there is an intention to commit any further offences.
  • The prevention of unauthorized modification of computer materials, such as data.#

European Union law also governs the way we use our computers and often intervenes and overpowers the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

The information privacy law is the main governing body of the European Union and all member states must follow this.


The United Kingdoms Communications Act 2003 2 s7 (1) prevents the use of “grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character” to be sent on social media sites and like.

Things you say on social media sites can also be seen as a criminal offence so be careful what your typing and who to.


The UK Data Protection Act 1998 has a few prinicples which should be acknowledged;

  • If you collect data about people for one reason, you can not use it for a different reason.
  • You can not give people’s data to other people or organisations unless they agree.
  • People have the right to look at data that any organizations store about them.
  • You can not keep the data for longer than you need to and it must be kept up to date.
  • You cannot send the data to places outside of the European Economic Area.
  • Most organizations that store data about people have to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office.
  • If you store data about people you must make sure that it is secure and well protected.
  • If an organization has data about you that is wrong, then you have a right to ask them to change it.

Finally there are a few other acts which are worth noting;

  • The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 – this generally covers copyright.
  • The Regulation of Investigatory Power Act 2000– this act generally covers the government which look at workers security and things alike.
  • The most newly implemented law is the Digital Economy Act 2010 – this specifically covers software piracy.