Legislation (CMA, DPA, CDPA)

Notes on the Computer Misuse Act, Data Protection Act and Copyrights Designs Patents Act

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Unit 15: Legislation
Computer Misuse Act
The Computer Misuse Act 1990 states that it is illegal to obtain
unauthorised access to any computer or to modify its contents.
There are three offences, which are defined in this Act.
1) Unauthorised access to computer material
2) Unauthorised access with intent to commit or help in further offences
3) Unauthorised modification of computer material.
Examples of Misuse:
a) Printing off party invitations
b) Booking a holiday on-line whilst at school or in the workplace
c) Sending personal emails whilst at school or in the workplace
d) Deliberately planting viruses into a computer system to cause damage to program files and data
e) Using a computer to carry out unauthorised work, such as using a firm's computer to run a
friends business
f) Copying computer programs illegally (ie software piracy)
g) Hacking into someone's system in order to see all the information or even change some of the
h) Using a computer for various frauds; people have been known to put fictitious employees on a
payroll program and use false bank accounts opened in the name of these employees to steal
1) Unauthorised access to computer material.
What is unauthorised access to computer material mean?
Using your friend's user name and password to log into a computer because you have
forgotten your own password
A teacher has forgotten to log out of a computer and you start open folders and files to
read their content
Opening a file such as a keynote presentation from a shared folder to add information to it
as part of a team exercise
Login to a computer offline (ie not logged into your own user account) to download, edit
and save movie footage for a school project
2) Unauthorised access with intent to commit or help in further
What does unauthorised access with intent to commit or help in further offences
a) Hacking into someone else's network user account and then deliberately deleting computer

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Hacking into a computer to find out Colonel Sanders' secret recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken
(unauthorised access) and selling the recipe on to a rival company to make money (committing a
further offence).
3) Unauthorised modification of computer material.
What does unauthorised modification of computer material mean?
a) Hacking into someone else's network user account and then deliberately modifying computer
Data Protection Act
We expect the `right to privacy'.…read more

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The must also inform the Data Protection Commissioner (this is the person who enforces the
Act). One of the other things they must do is to follow the rules and regulations laid down by the
Act. Failure to follow the procedures could cause problems for the company they are employed by.
The details of the Act are extremely complicated because they are not written in everyday English.…read more

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Economic Area, unless that country or territory has taken adequate precautions to protect the
rights and freedom of the information in relation to the processing of personal data.
In Summary: It Must Be...
1. Processed fairly and lawfully
2. Obtained for specified and lawful purposes
3. Adequate, relevant and not excessive
4. Accurate and up to date
5. Not kept any longer than necessary
6. Processed in accordance with the "data subject's" (the individual's) rights
7. Securely kept
8.…read more

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Does everyone have to register if they keep any data for personal use?
No, not everyone has to register their use of personal data, so if you hold your address book,
birthday list or Christmas card list on your home computer you do not need to worry.
There are exemptions to the use of personal data.…read more


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