Artur Engel'gardt1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

Computer Information as a Crime under article 273 of Criminal Codeof the Russian Federation

2014. No. 4. P. 136–145 [issue contents]
The position of criminal law as to using and spreading harmful software (information) (article 273of RF Criminal Code) is a requisite of protecting one of the key principles of regulating information.A specific legislation defines this principle as a freedom of search, using, obtaining, transferring, makingand spreading information by any legal means. Facts show that intended balanced and based on theconsent understanding of the meaning of the ban under article 273 of RF Criminal Code and other acts(articles 141, 171.2, 185.3, 242, 272 thereof) if they are committed by intruding into the operation ofcomputer or information telecommunication nets depends on the understanding of computer informationas the element of the crime in question. This interpretation goes beyond the competence of an expert incriminal law. Thus, the examination of computer information is relevant not only to linguistic purism addedto the research of computer crimes. This issue should get a comprehensive study in legal literature andfrom different angles. The paper shows that the conceptual characteristics of computer information in RFCriminal Code is constantly expanding. First, it is defined commonly as data (information) provided aselectric signals available for electronic devices including the transmission by data link channels. Under theobtained empirical material, this definition of computer information is not a corollary from the argument forthe opinions and decisions of courts. Its role is different as it does not identify computer information withthe means of storing, processing and transferring, find it in various technical devices such as cashpoints,receivers etc. The research shows that in certain articles of the Criminal Code, computer informationincludes the provisions as to special characteristics (positive signs) and reasons why some informationcannot be considered as a subject of crime in question (negative signs). Thus, secondly, computerinformation as an element of a certain crime has a number of individual signs. Article 273 of RF CriminalCode represent it as 1) a software or other information, b)which is intended for eliminating, blocking,modifying, copying computer information or neutralizing the means of its protection, c) when a necessary sanction is missing. Some of the abovementioned signs have not had proper examination. In particular,the sign that computer information targets the neutralization of the protection means. In the conditionsof common usage of relevant technological instruments, the introduction of this sign has broadened thecoverage of article 273 of RF Criminal Code and led to its primitive interpretation.
Citation: Engelgardt A.A. Computer Information as a Crime under Article 273 of Criminal Code of theRussian Federation. Pravo. Zhurnal Vysshey shkoly ekonomiki, no 4, pp. 136–145
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