When Is Browsing the Internet Illegal?

Posted By Carlson & Collier || 4-Mar-2016

Have you ever had the fear that your browsing history might send you to jail or worse? It is a commonly shared concern among many, especially now when the Internet has become such an integral part of our daily lives. Some Internet searches can certainly land you in trouble, however, as these keywords can be a trigger for law enforcement to investigate further and possibly step in.

Simply put, engaging in anything illegal, whether on the Internet or in real life. How does law enforcement discern, however, whether or not a search is simply a search, versus an actual crime?

The Laws on Internet Regulation

As an example, typing in a search for child porn or child pornography will lead to find information about what you have searched. However, accessing actual photos, videos, or other materials related to it is considered illegal. Some people believe that because they are in the privacy of their own home, their activities are private. However, you can still be arrested for any illegal activity online. Law enforcement can tell the difference between a search for information and out-and-out crime.

These are some examples of common types of cyber crimes:

A single search for a term such as “kiddie porn” may not raise red flags. There is a possibility that law enforcement could become suspicious if the searches come in succession, as though the searches seem linked to one another, or are related. Yet, it would take much more than a few searches to trigger suspicion.

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