Police seize computer equipment of Milton Keynes boy, 17, under 'misuse' laws

A 17-year-old boy from Milton Keynes has had his computer equipment seized by police under the Computer Misuse Act.

Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 1:09 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 1:10 pm

Officers executed a warrant at the teenager's house as part of the force's efforts to tackle cyber crime.

During the warrant six items of computer equipment were seized. No arrests were made, but the boy was voluntarily interviewed.

Detective Constable Kris Couzens from the Cyber Crime Unit said: “This warrant was executed as we believe that devices were being used to carry out computer misuse offences."

Police had a warrant

He added: "We continue to target those who misuse technology in this way and do not tolerate this behaviour. Cyber crime is fast moving and constantly developing."

The Computer Misuse Act 1990 deals specifically with the crime of accessing or modifying data stored on a computer system without being authorised to do so.

The law was introduced following the 1987 case of Regina v Gold and Schifreen, which saw two hackers Robert Schifreen and Stephen Gold remotely access the BT's Prestel service using credentials gleaned from a BT engineer via a technique known as shoulder surfing.

Once inside Prestel, the pair rooted around and eventually found their way to the email account of the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip.

The Act carries three levels of penalty. The lowest-level offence - gaining access to a computer without permission - can result in up to two years in prison and a 5,000 fine.

Anyone accessing a gain access to a computer without permission in order to steal data or take part in another crime or fraud can receive a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and can unlimited fine.

The most serious offence under the Act is modifying the content of a computer or providing the tools so others can do so. This could be, for example, to distribute malware with the intent to destroy or change the contents of a computer. If this potential damage extends to causing harm to human welfare or puts national security at risk, the sentence could be up to life imprisonment.

DC Couzens said: "We continue to target those who misuse technology in this way and do not tolerate this behaviour. We would ask the public if they have any information to please report it to police by calling 101, or making a report online. They can also make anonymous reports to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”