Scholars are rarely afforded contemporary opportunities to study the formation of criminal law. This paper reviews state and federal efforts to criminalize various forms of computer abuse. The analysis indicates that there was neither organized opposition to nor significant interest group involvement in computer crime enactments. Individual reformers included computer crime “experts” and legislators rather than “moral entrepreneurs.” The media were crucial to the criminalization, in that they provided both data on the incidence of computer crime and also helped to define society's response to the perceived problem. The paper concludes that the criminalization of computer abuse can be interpreted as a symbolic endeavor to educate and socialize a new generation of computer users by extending traditional definitions of property and privacy.