In today?s society our most valuable commodity is not grain, steel or even technology; it is information. Because of computer networks, just about everyone can now access an astounding range of information. The Internet is international, even though 80 percent of the Internet use occurs in the United States, and a staggering amount of information on every subject imaginable is available for free.
Because so many people now have access, computer crimes have become more frequent. Everyone with a computer and a modem can commit a computer crime if so inclined. Anyone, conceivably, could become a ?white collar? computer criminal. When the term ?white collar? crime came into wide spread use several decades ago, it was thought that certain crimes were committed by persons whom no one would normally suspect of criminal behavior: professional, ?white collar? workers. In the late 1990?s, however, the term ?white collar? is somewhat inaccurate. The playing field has been leveled by the widespread use of computers. Now ?white collar crime? tends to mean simply ?non violent crime? or ?economic crime.? As technology becomes increasingly accessible to more and more people, it also becomes a potential tool for increasing numbers of criminals. Most computer crimes do not involve violence but rather greed, pride, or play on some character weakness of the victim. They are based on dishonesty and not force. For these reasons, computer crimes are considered white collar.
Just as the term ?white collar crime? designates several kinds of crime, the term computer crime also designated several types of crime. It includes crimes that are committed with a computer, crimes that occur in cyber space, and crimes committed against a computer. Some of the crimes are completely new; while others are older crimes that merely use the computer as a tool. The endless and constant growing variety of computer crimes makes it difficult to pass laws that adequately cover new computer crimes. Some...
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