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Computer Misuse Notes

Computer Misuse Act 1990

The Computer Misuse Act arose after it became clear that the law was finding it very difficult to cope with abuse of computers. In one case, a defendant had been convicted of criminal damage to a computer, where he had deleted data from a hard disk. The conviction was effective, but unconvincing and inappropriate. It was a distortion, and an unhappy one. One direct effect of the Act was to disallow similar prosecutions in future.

We have a full copy of the Act on-line here.


These notes are quite incomplete, and must be taken 'as is'

15 November, 1995

Exeter Crown Court - first conviction under s 3 (the anti-virus part) of the 1990 Computer Misuse Act (s3)

Christopher Pile - 'the Black Baron', aged 26, faced 11 charges in respect of two virus programs. Christopher was described as the typical 'anorak' being lonely and friendless,

He received a sentence of 18 months improisonment.

It was claimed that he had 'wreaked mindless havoc' by John Samuel, a police Superintendent. It was a good result, and 'sent a message to all virus writers.'

John Woodmansey, solicitor for Mr Piles said he had a particular talent. He had written something extraordinary, and if directed properly, he could have made a place for himself. Considering appeal

Terence Bates - expert says he wrote from malice - had a point to prove - was the equivalent of electronic graffiti. He had caused many thousand pounds worth of damage.

Microprose - Stephen Merryweather - wanton vandalism - compared to break in factory - no difference destroying the tools of our trade

The program is circulating Europe and America 'has even been found in Northern Ireland

R v Bow Street Magistrates Court, ex parte Alison (HL) 1999

Important: Please note that our law-bytes are retained for archival purposes only. The law changes, and these notes are often, now, out of date. You must take direct advice on your own personal situation and the law as it currently stands.
All information on this site is in general and summary form only. The content of any page on this site may be out of date and or incomplete, and you should not not rely directly upon it. Take direct professional legal advice which reflects your own particular situation.
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