Computer Misuse Act

1990

As computers became more and more important for both people and businesses, it was apparent that some people misused computer systems.

This misuse resulted in businesses losing money and trade secrets.

Citizens had their privacy compromised and personal details stolen for financial gain.

In order to respond to this problem, parliament created the 'Computer Misuse Act' in 1990.

It created three new offences

  • Unauthorised access to computer material
  • Unauthorised access with intent to commit a crime
  • Unauthorized modification of computer material


The Act made it clear that abusing computer systems was no longer tolerated.

The Computer Misuse Act 1990 is an Act of the parliament of the united kingdom, introduced partly in response to the decision in 1988. Critics of the bill complained that it was introduced hastily and was poorly thought out. Intention, they said, was often difficult to prove, and that the bill inadequately differentiated "joyriding" hackers like Gold and Schifreen from serious computer criminals. The Act has nonetheless become a model from which several other countries, including Canada and the Republic of Ireland, have drawn inspiration when subsequently drafting their own information security laws, as it is seen "as a robust and flexible piece of legislation in terms of dealing with cybercrime”.
Computer Misuse act!