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Computer Misuse Act 1990 (CMA)

Contributor(s): John Geary

The Computer Misuse Act 1990 (CMA) is an act of the UK Parliament passed in 1990. CMA is designed to frame legislation and controls over computer crime and Internet fraud. The legislation was created to:

  • Criminalize unauthorized access to computer systems.
  • Deter serious criminals from using a computer in the commission of a criminal offence or seek to hinder or impair access to data stored in a computer.

The CMA is broad and sweeping, but has also been broadly and liberally applied in the courts. This has raised concerns among privacy advocates and those who believe in circumscribing government influence on daily life and behavior. Nevertheless, the CMA has served as a model for computer crime legislation in other Commonwealth countries.

This was last updated in February 2008

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