About The Course

This three-credit course is organized around three questions:

  • What conduct involving a computer is prohibited by criminal law?
  • What legal rules govern the collection of digital evidence in criminal investigations?
  • What powers do state, national, and foreign governments have to investigate and prosecute computer crimes?

More specifically, topics will include computer hacking, computer viruses,  encryption, online undercover operations, the Fourth Amendment in cyberspace, the law of Internet surveillance, laws governing access to e-mail, forum-shopping, jurisdiction, national security, and federal-state relations and international cooperation in the enforcement of computer crime laws.  Special attention will be paid to cyber terrorism.

In addition, the course uses these topics to examine how legal regimes respond to rapid technological and societal change.

One of the goals of the course is to acquire experience working with statutes and regulations, in addition to the more traditional appellate court opinions used in most law school courses.

No advanced knowledge of computers and the Internet is required or assumed.  This is primarily a lecture course and not a seminar.

Class Meeting Times:

Class meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. in Braeburn Lecture Hall, Room 350 of Dineen Hall.

Required Reading:

The primary text is Kerr, Orin, Computer Crime Law, 3d Ed. (West, 2013), ISBN 9780314281364, and its 2016 Statutory and Case Supplement ISBN 9781634604055.  More materials will be provided in class.  All materials other than the primary texts will be available on the course website at http://computercrimelaw.us.  All required readings are essential.  Supplemental readings will be available for anyone who wants to delve into a subject more deeply.  Anything projected during class will be available on the course websites.



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