How we break Laws without even knowing

For the average law-abiding citizen, the idea of breaking the law is seen as something extreme. As in, the idea of getting into any “official” trouble is the least you would want. But all across the country, there are numerous eccentric laws that people break every day. They have no idea what they’re doing is illegal because these laws rarely reference dangerous activity.

Usually, they concern the environment, technology, or a certain etiquette that seems old-fashioned (not to mention unnecessary). Start preparing to face the truth, because you’re living on the edge of right and wrong.

Having fun at the park

Parks are relaxing places to spend time in, and due to their immense size, people are usually not concerned about noise levels or rigorous activity. Because it’s a park; there’s space for everyone to run around and enjoy the scenery. Right? Not so much.

break Laws

There are a bunch of persnickety rules about park etiquette, including not teasing breeding animals like monkeys and not rolling anything down a hill. So no balls in the park. Nothing that could cause someone to take a hit. Plus those things might disturb the plant life, so … oh, OK, fair enough.

Now, this is beginning to be fun. Did you know that it’s illegal to go skinny-dipping (swimming naked) unless you’re under 10 years old? Basically, these rules dictate that park visitors be mature at all times. And even if all you want to do is pick a flower for your significant other, that’s not allowed. If your idea of fun is a little viciousness, forget about the park. But these rules are too farfetched that no one seems to care about them, even then government itself.

Using a fake name online

break Laws

Since basic identification is assigned at birth, there’s really no need to pretend to be anybody else. Some people like to use other names they feel more comfortable with. That’s perfectly fine — as long as you’re not deceiving anyone that is, pretending to be someone you’re not. Using a fake name on the internet is particularly serious because it poses a cyber-threat and violates the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

With social networks, there is a strictly written agreement — and it’s there to protect every user and their activity. For example, Facebook’s Terms of Service prohibit false information being provided in personal accounts. Instagram’s Terms of Service employ similar rules, stating that users must not “impersonate or intimidate people or entities.” And let’s face it, usually, when a person is assuming an alternative identity online, they’re after something or someone they shouldn’t be pursuing. That’s where we all get it wrong.

Sharing medications with friends or family

break Laws

Have you ever been traveling and had a friend slip you a painkiller to ease the pain? Harmless? Yeah, probably, but it’s also in violation of the law. That medication was prescribed in a specific dosage to one person based on their personal circumstances, and people react differently to drugs, so they’re not meant to be shared willy-nilly.

Drug Administration explains that a lot of the risk has to do with side effects. All drugs have them, and if the medicine wasn’t prescribed to you, it could contain an ingredient that you’re not supposed to take. Then there’s the issue of becoming dependent on the drug. And the lack of medical oversight that occurs when people consume drugs that aren’t meant for them. It all makes sense.

Connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi

break Laws

With the internet being such a huge part of daily life, it’s not that unusual to connect to a random Wi-Fi network. The internet might be down in your place, so you find one in your neighborhood that doesn’t require a password. Easy enough? Yes. Harmless? Hmm, probably … but since you’ve technically accessed a network without authorization, it’s a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. And suddenly, that sounds very official and scary.

It’s similar to illegally downloading prohibited media but you probably won’t be prosecuted. You’d have to be using the Wi-Fi network in a way that attracts attention over time, like repeatedly exploiting a business that provides it in exchange for the purchase of goods and services. Rule of thumb: if it’s unsecured, you probably don’t want to be using it anyway. The internet can be a dangerous place.


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Brian is a founding writer at Urban Kenyans. His work is focused on how to improve the digital literacy of Kenyans online. He has been able to do so with his mastery of Kenya and the English Language.

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