Digital Law

Within the nine aspects of digital citizenship, there is one aspect that is held above the rest. Digital Law. what digital law does is hold users responsible for their electronic actions, whether it is ethical or unethical. What puts it above the eight other aspects of digital citizenship would be because it is incredibly common. Digital law is something that needs to be taught to students so they are aware of what is classified as digitally illegal, and know the consequences as a deterrent.

There are four main categories when it comes to digital law. First being illegally sharing files, this includes uploading the files and downloading the files.This is mainly done with the help of pirating websites, such as pirate bay. Downloading anything that cost money, without any sort of compensation to the owner would be classified as an illegal download. This includes movies, tv shows, music, games, books, and programs. Second, there is creating a virus, which ironically normally comes from downloading sketchy thing from the internet. This is illegal because it is causing damage to someone’s person property, normally by the computer harming files and programs inside the computer. Third, there is hacking, which is commonly brought up in the new around government hacks. The reason this is illegal is because hacking revolves around accessing personal, private, and classified information. Lastly, there is identity fraud. This involves taking people’s personal information such as credit card number, social insurance number, email, and accounts. Since all these actions are illegal there are consequences that go along with it as well.

Like most laws when broken there is either prison time or fine. If convicted of identity fraud someone is charged with a minimum of two years in jail, and depending on the state there can be fines past $5,000. Now illegally downloading someone’s property doesn’t come with a prison sentence, but it can come with a hefty fine. Hacking comes with two different potential charges. One being a misdemeanor (minor offense) which can come with having to spend up to six months in prison, and or a $1,000 fine. Second is a felony (serious offense) which comes with a twenty-year prison sentence, and or up to $15,000 fine. Now viruses are a bit more tricky because creating one is not against the law, but sending one, and damaging anything on the computer the sender can be held liable.

To teach this to children I would explain what is classified as illegal and what is not. Then after I would tell them the punishments if caught. Of course, to hit it home and help it sink in, I’d mention that it would be the parents that get the consequence because who wants their parents going to jail for their mistake. To look at this in the bigger picture it also highlights that there are punishments for actions. Yes, digital law is only one aspect of digital citizenship, but it teaches the importance of internet laws, and the punishments what can come with breaking it.