Cyber torts are probably the most recent and complex problem to appear on the Internet.
A tort is a negligent or intentional act is done by someone that injures someone else in some way. Cyber Torts are those torts committed in cyberspace or by using computer either as an instrumentality, target or a means for perpetuating the tort.
Our firm handles all manners of cyber torts, including online harassment and cyber bullying, cyber stalking, camfecting, and revenge porn.
Online harassment takes many forms. It generally describes a situation in which someone uses social media or other information technology such as cell phones, emails, or instant messaging to deliberately threaten, harass, or intimidate another person. Online harassment can include cyber stalking, unsolicited genitalia pictures, sharing private or intimate information about the victim with others, and infecting another person's computer or electronic device with a virus.
According to a 2014 Pew Research report, nearly 73% of adult internet users have seen someone be harassed in some way online and 40% have personally experienced it.
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On June 21, 2015, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver addressed the spread of revenge porn and online harassment
That being said, there are several federal and state laws that criminalize the acts giving rise to camfecting.
The federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) makes it illegal to intercept electronic communications without authorization, but doesn’t explicitly forbid images. If the software used to take over the webcam is programmed to collect sound recording along with video from the infected webcam, then the camfecting would be considered a crime since it intercepted verbal communications. That being said, if you are using what is considered a “protected computer,” or one used by the U.S. Government, financial institutions, or involved in interstate commerce, then you may be covered under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and could take legal actions against the hacker.
Under Colorado's Computer Crime Statute, C.R.S. § 18-5.5-102, it's a crime to knowingly access another's computer without authorization. By virtue of the secretive and hidden nature of camfecting, anyone caught camfecting in Colorado would likely face charges under the statute.
If there's any evidence that the purpose of the camfecting was for the sexual gratification of the individual on the other end of hack, then the camfecting likely gives rise to a criminal invasion of privacy for sexual gratification under C.R.S. § 18-3-405.6.
Camfecting also likely gives rise to a variety of civil actions, including an invasion of privacy by intrusion upon seclusion.The tort of intrusion upon seclusion occurs when a person intentionally intrudes, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of another or his private affairs or concerns, and the intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.
Read more about privacy claims for intrusion upon seclusion and how our firm can help you here.
Although neither the Colorado harassment statute nor the federal cyber stalking give a civil right of action (only criminal), a violation of the statute may serve as evidence for more traditional common law torts such as intentional infliction of emotional distress. Likewise, camfecting may give grounds to a civil claim for an invasion of privacy. In cases of revenge porn, victims are entitled to a civil action under Colorado statutes C.R.S. § 18-7-107 and C.R.S. § 18-7-108.
At the Law Office of Cassandra M. Kirsch, LLC, we can help you determine your best course of action against a cyber tortfeasor, whether that be a cease and desist letter, an advocacy letter to law enforcement for investigation, or litigation. Contact our law firm to schedule a paid consultation with an attorney to discuss the facts of your cyber tort case and how we protect your cyber rights.