Regina v Gold and Schifreen: HL 21 Apr 1988

The defendants had hacked a remote computer system, by the unauthorised use of the passwords and IDs of other users of the system. The ID and password were immediately cleared by the computer once authorisation for access had been granted. They had been charged under the 1981 Act of uttering a false instrument. The prosecutor now appealed against the decision of the Court of Appeal to quash the conviction.
Held: The appeal failed. It was artificial to treat the creation of a temporary record held by the computer as the making of an instrument as defined in section 8(1). The information was held only temporarily and neither recorded nor stored within the Act.


Lord Keith of Kinkel, Lord Brandon of Oakbrook, Lord Templeman, Lord Oliver of Aylmerton and Lord Goff of Chieveley


[1988] 2 WLR 984, [1988] AC 1063, [1988] 2 All ER 186




Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981 1 8(1)(d)


England and Wales


Appeal fromRegina v Gold and Schifreen CACD 17-Jul-1987
Use of Illegally Obtained Passwords not Forgery
The defendants had obtained password and ID information sufficient to secure access to British Telecom’s Prestel Service. They appealed against convictions under the 1981 Act after using the access codes to log in. Having gained such access they . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Crime, Information

Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.175509

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