Ward, a former employee of ISD, a computer company, was employed by UCC, a competing computer service company. Ward was charged with obtaining trade secrets illegally through the use of a computer terminal. Using a UCC data telephone, Ward dialed a secret number and gained access on his terminal to an ISD program without authority to do so. He then got a printout of the ISD program. The ISD program gave ISD an advantage over its competitors, including UCC. When charged with theft, Ward claimed he stole nothing tangible and therefore that no crime had been committed. He contended that he only caused impulses to be transmitted over the phone and onto a screen and that, once he did that, getting a printout was not theft. Does making a printout of secret information taken from another’s computer constitute computer theft?
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