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Computer Misuse Act 1990

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17 Interpretation.E+W+S+N.I.

(1)The following provisions of this section apply for the interpretation of this Act.

(2)A person secures access to any program or data held in a computer if by causing a computer to perform any function he—

(a)alters or erases the program or data;

(b)copies or moves it to any storage medium other than that in which it is held or to a different location in the storage medium in which it is held;

(c)uses it; or

(d)has it output from the computer in which it is held (whether by having it displayed or in any other manner);

and references to access to a program or data (and to an intent to secure such access [F1or to enable such access to be secured]) shall be read accordingly.

(3)For the purposes of subsection (2)(c) above a person uses a program if the function he causes the computer to perform—

(a)causes the program to be executed; or

(b)is itself a function of the program.

(4)For the purposes of subsection (2)(d) above—

(a)a program is output if the instructions of which it consists are output; and

(b)the form in which any such instructions or any other data is output (and in particular whether or not it represents a form in which, in the case of instructions, they are capable of being executed or, in the case of data, it is capable of being processed by a computer) is immaterial.

(5)Access of any kind by any person to any program or data held in a computer is unauthorised if—

(a)he is not himself entitled to control access of the kind in question to the program or data; and

(b)he does not have consent to access by him of the kind in question to the program or data from any person who is so entitled [F2but this subsection is subject to section 10.]

(6)References to any program or data held in a computer include references to any program or data held in any removable storage medium which is for the time being in the computer; and a computer is to be regarded as containing any program or data held in any such medium.

(7)F3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

[F4(8)An act done in relation to a computer is unauthorised if the person doing the act (or causing it to be done)—

(a)is not himself a person who has responsibility for the computer and is entitled to determine whether the act may be done; and

(b)does not have consent to the act from any such person.

In this subsection “ act ” includes a series of acts. ]

(9)References to the home country concerned shall be read in accordance with section 4(6) above.

(10)References to a program include references to part of a program.

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Amendments (Textual)

F1Words in s. 17(2) inserted (S.) (1.10.2007) by Police and Justice Act 2006 (c. 48), ss. 52, 53, Sch. 14 para. 29(2) (with s. 38(1)); S.S.I. 2007/434, art. 2 (the inserting provision being repealed for E.W.N.I. (1.10.2008) by 2007 c. 27, ss. 61(5), 92, 94, Sch. 14 (with Sch. 13 para. 5); S.I. 2008/2504, art. 2(a)(i)(viii))

F2Words in s. 17(5)(b) inserted (3.2.1995) by 1994 c. 33, s. 162(2); S.I. 1995/127, art. 2(1), Sch. 1

F3S. 17(7) repealed (1.10.2007 for S. and 1.10.2008 otherwise) by Police and Justice Act 2006 (c. 48), ss. 52, 53, Sch. 14 para. 29(3), Sch. 15 Pt. 4 (with s. 38(4)); S.S.I. 2007/434, art. 2; S.I. 2008/2503, art. 2

F4S. 17(8) substituted (1.10.2007 for S. and 1.10.2008 otherwise) by Police and Justice Act 2006 (c. 48), ss. 52, 53, Sch. 14 para. 29(4) (with s. 38(4)); S.S.I. 2007/434, art. 2; S.I. 2008/2503, art. 2

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