We're using computers all the time these days, from email to banking, and sometimes even driving our cars. So of course criminals are using computers, too, and trying to figure out new ways to victimize other computer users. Everything from annoying spam, to invasive viruses, and from hacking to identity theft; these are just a few of the ways criminals can use computers against us. So what is the Hawkeye State doing to keep our computers, our personal information, and ourselves safe from computer crime? This is an introduction computer crimes laws in Iowa.
We may have heard of "hacking" or seen it on TV, but breaking into a secure computer database just one of many "computer crimes" prohibited under state computer crime laws. These statutes can also criminalize damaging a computer system and spam operations.
Computer Crime Laws in Iowa
The chart below lists the details of Iowa's computer crime statutes.
Iowa Code 714, et seq.: Theft, Fraud and Related Offenses;
Iowa Code 714E, et seq.: Foreclosure Consultants;
Iowa Code 716.6B: Unauthorized Computer Access;
Iowa Code 702.1A: Computer Terminology;
Iowa Code 702.14: Property
Mental State Required for Prosecution
Misdemeanor Computer Crimes
Unauthorized access of a computer, computer system, or computer network with confidential records or operational or support data, aggravated misdemeanor; if data us copied, altered, or destroyed, serious misdemeanor;
Theft of data or services with value between $500 and $1000, aggravated misdemeanor; $200-500, serious misdemeanor; under $200, simple misdemeanor; access of computer, simple misdemeanor
Felony Computer Crimes
Theft of data or services with value over $10,000, class C felony; value between $1000 and $10,000, class D felony
Attempt Considered a Crime?
Civil Lawsuit Permitted?
As comprehensive as Iowa computer crime statutes are, you are the first line of defense when it comes to keeping yourself and your personal data safe. Here are a few tips to protect yourself from computer criminals:
- Make all of your passwords difficult to guess by using numbers, capital and lower case letters, and even symbols, and;
- Change your passwords frequently and definitely don't use the same password for all your accounts;
- Always be diligent when reading your credit card statements, bank account statements, and any government statements to check for irregular activity;
- Monitor your credit report and any posted credit activity.
Iowa Computer Crimes Laws: Related Resources
For many of us, computers and the crime that can occur on them, can be confusing. You can find additional articles and resources in FindLaw's section on Cyber Crimes. You can also contact an Iowa criminal defense attorney if you would like legal advice regarding a computer crime issue.