Friday, 4 February 2011

Cybercrime

There will always be those in the world who wish to gain some benefit without actually paying for it. As a result the electronic law will also cross over certain aspects of criminal law. Whether by an outsider or through the actions of disloyal employees, crime is something that is likely to remain with us for the foreseeable future. The Internet and digital networks create new vulnerabilities and methods that criminals can exploit for their own gain.

Most of the existing crimes can be replicated and transacted with the aid of an online environment. Further, novel new crimes designed to exploit the features and advantages of the Internet and other digital networks have emerged and are likely to continue to emerge in the future. Some example criminal activities that have benefited from the advances in digital technology include:

• Computer break-ins (or Trespass) including the illegal access to the whole or any part of a computer system without right;
• Illegal interception without right, made by technical means, of non-public transmissions of computer data to, from or within a computer system;
• Data Interference or the damaging, deletion, deterioration, alteration or suppression of computer data without authorization;
• Interfering with a system or the serious hindering without right of the functioning of a computer system by inputting, transmitting, damaging, deleting, deteriorating, altering or suppressing computer data;
• Possession of obscenity/prohibited pornography (e.g. child pornography and bestiality);
• Industrial espionage;
• E-mail Fraud;
• Harassment;
• Web page defacements (cyber vandalism);
• Theft of company documents.

While none of these crimes is wholly new, the ease in which they may be committed and the difficulty in capturing the offender has added a new dimension to crime. For instance, it is unlikely that law enforcement officials will be able to take action against many cyber-criminals unless the majority of countries first enact laws which criminalize the behavior of the offenders.

Some of the primary issues which face law enforcement in cybercrime cases include:
• Increased Investigative Costs due to the need for high priced specialists;
• The difficulties of conducting “Real Time” Investigations;
• The ease of Anonymity on the Internet;
• Difficulties with Jurisdictional issues;
• The rate at which Technology is evolving; and
• The Irrelevance of geographic distance.

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