The Internet has become a powerful social and economic force, which has, in turn, spawned its own branch of law. This section contains articles that will help you decide when it is and is not safe to give out personal information online, as well as the steps you can take to avoid online scammers.
Frequently asked questions
A computer crime is any illegal activity that involves a computer as the object of a crime, as an instrument used to commit a crime, or as a hiding or storage place for evidence related to a crime. For example, computer crime could be the theft of a computer, using a computer to illegally access someone else's computer system, or storing documents relating to a crime on a computer. The main types of computer crime involve computer hackers, software piracy, stock manipulation, and business fraud.
Cyberbullying occurs when someone becomes a target of actions by others — using computers, cellphones or other devices — that are intended to embarrass, humiliate, torment, threaten or harass. It can happen only once, or occur repeatedly. Teens sometimes refer to cyberbullying as hating, trolling, or drama. Some common forms of cyberbullying include using the Internet, specifically social websites, text/instant messaging, and emails.
If you’re writing negative reviews, tweets or posts, you run the risk of defamation — a false, malicious statement intended to damage someone’s reputation. Written defamation is also called libel. Defamation is a strict liability tort in Canada, meaning it’s assumed that the defamer acted intentionally. The defamer can be sued even if their statement was accidental or the result of negligence. Since online content can be so widely disseminated, the lawsuit damages can be steep.
Generally not if it’s between consenting adults. But it’s a different matter for kids who are under 18. Teenagers, or youths, caught sending nude or partially nude photos or videos of themselves electronically could be hit with child pornography charges. It can still be legal, however, under one exception established in a 2001 Supreme Court of Canada decision. The “personal use” rule allows two youths to consensually record sexual activity as long as the content is kept private. It’s still technically child pornography, but it’s not illegal to possess.