Being Connected

Connection is Great… Most of The Time

Let’s face it. We have become a connected society. We connect with friends and even people we may not know well. We shop, bank, play games, do homework, and pay bills on all kinds of electronic devices – computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. But being online involves risks and it’s important to learn how to be a savvy and protected online citizen.

Online Safety

  • Think before you share. Ask yourself: would you want the words you write or the photos you post to be seen by a teacher, your parents, a college recruiter, or a potential employer?
  • Limit what you share. It’s OK to curtail what others see and what information you allow websites and apps to collect about you. Learn how to use the privacy, security, and geotagging settings for your devices.
  • Follow the Golden Rule. Treat people with the same courtesy and respect you would want and don’t say things online that you wouldn’t say in person. If someone is harassing or threatening you online, you have the right to report or block them.
  • Knowing someone online is not the same as knowing them. Are you sure that the person you are sharing your innermost secrets with is who they say they are? Avoid revealing personal information, such as your name, your phone number, where you live, or where you go to school. The person you meet online may not be anything like they portray themselves and may have dangerous motives.

    For more information, visit the National Cyber Security Alliance website.

Work Computers

Your work computer and e-mail address belong to your employer, not to you. You should not expect privacy when you use your work computer to send e-mails and use the Internet. You should check with your employer or read your employee handbook regarding the privacy policy for your particular workplace. Because work computers are owned by your employer, your right to privacy may be subject to the discretion of your employer (i.e. review of websites visited, downloads, law enforcement review, etc.).

Online Theft

The law prohibits:

  • Pirating or downloading copyrighted material (such as music) without authorization. Under federal law, criminal copyright infringement is punishable by both a hefty fine and a possible prison sentence.
  • Accessing someone else’s computer without authorization or introducing a virus to another computer or computer network.
  • Disrupting or denying access to an authorized user of a computer or deleting, damaging, or destroying systems, networks, programs, databases, or components of computers without authorization.
  • Devising and executing schemes to obtain money, property, or services with false or fraudulent intent through a computer.

Other Important Cyber Laws

Child Pornography: Accessing, possessing, or sharing any matter depicting a person under the age of 18 engaged in or simulating sexual conduct is a felony and can be punished by up to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $50,000. This includes websites, e-mails, or text messages with an attached photo containing child pornography. If you receive such a message you should consider filing a report with the CyberTip Line at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and delete the message.

Cyberbullying: Cyberbullying is the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending intimidating or threatening messages that cause emotional distress or fear. In Idaho, it’s a form of stalking that can be a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, or both.