FAQ – Description of the application of the following to the misuse of networks

Description of  the application of the following to the misuse of networks

  • the Computer Misuse Act
  • the Copy right  Designs and Patents Act
  • the Data Protection Act

Computer Misuse Act

In the UK, the Computer Misuse Act (1990) covers using computers to damage or steal data. The Computer Misuse Act covers crimes such as breaking into computer systems or networks to destroy or steal data and propagating viruses which destroy or damage information or computer systems.


Controlling access to the network :-
The network operating system is responsible for security on the network. The most obvious example of this is when a user logs on. The user must supply an identity and a password. If the identity and password do match, then the resources which the user has access to will depend on the level of access that user has been given by the network manager. The access a user has to resources depends on that user’s level of permissions.

Data Protection Act

In the UK, the Data Protection Act (1998) describes the duties and responsibilities of those holding data on individuals. It also describes the right of these individuals. In general, it is the duty of those holding data on individuals to register with the Data Protection Registrar, to keep the information secure, make sure it is accurate, and to divulge it only to those persons who are authorised to view it. It is the right of an individual who has data stored concerning them to view that information and to have it changed if it is inaccurate. There are a number of organisations which may be given exemption from this act – namely the Police, Customs, National Security and Health Authorities.

Personal privacy

Monitoring of individuals’ Internet & email use. Many governments would like to have access to this sort of information. (Many individuals would not like this kind of access) With modern communications networks it is theoretically possible to trace the movements of any individual around the world – they use cash machines, pay with credit cards, use the Internet, use mobile phones, appear on surveillance cameras, and may use electronic road tolling systems.

Copyright Designs and Patents Act

Copyright is the ownership of intellectual property outlined by a particular nation’s or international law. In the UK, the Designs and Patents Act of 1988, and legislation in other countries who signed the Berne Convention, provide protection.


The Internet has made the distribution of software cheap and easy, but this also means that the distribution of illegal copies of software is just as easy. Software piracy is a major problem in many parts of the world. Many people argue that software piracy increases the cost of software because software distributors need to charge more to recover the cost of research and development if only a percentage of those using the software are actually paying for it.