Crosby, Hubris and Nemesis

In ancient Greece, hubris (ancient Greek  ὕβρις) referred to actions that shamed and humiliated the victim for the pleasure or gratification of the abuser. The term had a strong sexual connotation, and the shame reflected on the perpetrator as well. It was most evident in the public and private actions of the powerful and rich. The word was also used to describe actions of those who challenged the gods or their laws, especially in Greek tragedy, resulting in the protagonist’s downfall.

Hubris, though not specifically defined, was a legal term and was considered a crime in classical Athens. It was also considered the greatest crime of the ancient Greek world. The category of acts constituting hubris for the ancient Greeks apparently broadened from the original specific reference to mutilation of a corpse, or a humiliation of a defeated foe, or irreverent “outrageous treatment” in general. It often resulted in fatal retribution or Nemesis.

In Greek Mythology, Nemesis (Greek, Νέμεσις), also called Rhamnousia/Rhamnusia (“the goddess of Rhamnous”) at her sanctuary at Rhamnous, was the spirit of divine retribution against those who succumb to hubris (arrogance before the gods). The Greeks personified vengeful fate as a remorseless goddess. The name Nemesis is related to the Greek word νέμειν [némein], meaning “to give what is due”. She is the implacable executrix of justice.

Criminal Code of Canada C-46

342.1 (1) Every one who, fraudulently and without colour of right,

(a) obtains, directly or indirectly, any computer service,

(b) by means of an electro-magnetic, acoustic, mechanical or other device, intercepts or causes to be intercepted, directly or indirectly, any function of a computer system,

(c) uses or causes to be used, directly or indirectly, a computer system with intent to commit an offence under paragraph (a) or (b) or an offence under section 430 in relation to data or a computer system, or

(d) uses, possesses, traffics in or permits another person to have access to a computer password that would enable a person to commit an offence under paragraph (a), (b) or (c)

is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.


(2) In this section, “computer password”
«mot de passe »

“computer password” means any data by which a computer service or computer system is capable of being obtained or used;

“computer program”
«programme d’ordinateur


“computer program” means data representing instructions or statements that, when executed in a computer system, causes the computer system to perform a function;

“computer service”
«service d’ordinateur »

“computer service” includes data processing and the storage or retrieval of data;

“computer system”


“computer system” means a device that, or a group of interconnected or related devices one or more of which,

(a) contains computer programs or other data, and

(b) pursuant to computer programs,

(i) performs logic and control, and

(ii) may perform any other function;

«données »

“data” means representations of information or of concepts that are being prepared or have been prepared in a form suitable for use in a computer system;

“electro-magnetic, acoustic, mechanical or other device”
«dispositif électromagnétique, acoustique, mécanique ou autre


“electro-magnetic, acoustic, mechanical or other device” means any device or apparatus that is used or is capable of being used to intercept any function of a computer system, but does not include a hearing aid used to correct subnormal hearing of the user to not better than normal hearing;

«fonction »

“function” includes logic, control, arithmetic, deletion, storage and retrieval and communication or telecommunication to, from or within a computer system;



“intercept” includes listen to or record a function of a computer system, or acquire the substance, meaning or purport thereof;

«trafic »

“traffic” means, in respect of a computer password, to sell, export from or import into Canada, distribute or deal with in any other way.

R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 45; 1997, c. 18, s. 18.

Possession of device to obtain computer service

Asked and answered:

It is the principle of “agency” that bears. If someone does something at your behest, you are just as liable as the one committing the crime. With payments you also run the risk of a conspiracy charge that can get you more time than a lot of the crimes you may pay for.

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