We all use the Internet everyday for various reasons, whether it’s to check the news or to debate politics on social media, everyone is online. What many people don’t know, is sometimes you might be breaking several laws without even knowing it! These are 10 things you are doing right now that are illegal.
There are several things you could be doing right now that are considered illegal, but one of the most prominent offenses are people using work computers for things other than work. It’s not always easy to stay on task at work, especially with long hours and Internet access. People, who take a break from their jobs to play on the Internet, do so at their own risk. This is actually considered illegal by the IRS, because when businesses use company money to pay for computers and the Internet, they are usually claiming them as business expenses. Therefore, anything written off company taxes as business expenses must only be used for the business operations, or it will be considered fraud.
Fraud from the IRS isn’t the only law you might be breaking. Have you ever saved a photo online without permission? Or maybe uploaded a video of yourself singing “Happy Birthday” to someone? These are both considered illegal because you are stealing or uploading copyrighted materials. Artists put copyrights in place so they can monetize and regulate their work. When someone steals their work, they are then able to distribute it, and this can leave the artist penniless for all the time and effort they put into creating their work. The best way to save an image is to buy it online, or from the artist themselves.
There is another thing that nearly everyone has done, but also is constituted unlawful under copyright laws, and that is making Internet Memes or GIFs. When someone makes a meme or GIF it is usually from copyrighted material, which is protected under copyright laws. Though it is completely legal to parody copyrighted material, Internet memes and GIF’s are not protected under that loophole. Because of websites like Facebook and tumblr, it is nearly impossible to monitor this law because the network of distribution is so high it is difficult to find the original source. So as of now, though it is illegal, people making Internet memes and GIF’s probably won’t be facing any real jail time anytime soon.
With the Internet connecting more people than ever, it’s no wonder that companies have begun outsourcing their employees and hire people to work remotely. This is completely legal, but because people are able to work all over the world as long as they have an Internet connection, this means more people are travelling and working. When someone is working in another country, it doesn’t matter where they are hired from; they usually need a work visa. Many people don’t realize this, and just visit countries with their travel visa, and think they are ok. It is illegal in some countries to even check work emails on a travel visa. It’s good form to check your destinations work and travel visa guidelines before you plan your trip!
Not only is working without a travel visa a way to break the law without knowing it, but using a fake name when you sign up for websites can be illegal as well. It’s completely common for people to not divulge their personal information to websites when they are signing up to gain access, but this means you are getting the access to the website without authorization. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act that considered users who gain access without authorization to websites to be hackers considered this illegal. This crime is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and though it is hard to regulate, people have been punished seen jail time!
Just because things are quite common in the Internet community, doesn’t mean it’s always legal. Are you surprised with some of the illegal things you might be doing right now?