Cybercrime: Computer and Information

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A Critical Look at the Regulation of Cybercrime

A Comparative Analysis with Suggestions for Legal Policy

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Mohamed CHAWKI *

* LL.B (1998), BA (1998), LL.M (2000), DU (2003). Member of the Council of State (Conseil d’Etat). Member of several NGOs. Phd Researcher at the School of Law, University of Lyon III, France. mohamed_chawki@hotmail.com

“Instantaneous global communications have given us a window on the world through which can be seen both the wonder of it all and the things that make us wonder about it all”

John Naisbitt (Global Paradox: 1994)

Abstract:

Cybercrime cut across territorial borders, creating a new realm of illegal human activity and undermining the feasibility--and legitimacy--of applying laws based on geographic boundaries. Territorially-based law-making and law-enforcing authorities find cybercrime deeply threatening. It has subjected the nation-State to unprecedented challenges with regard to its efficacy, sovereignty and functions. However, established territorial authorities may yet learn to defer to the self-regulatory efforts of Cyberspace participants who care most deeply about this new digital trade in ideas, information, and services. Separated from doctrine tied to territorial jurisdictions, new legislations will emerge, in a variety of online spaces, to deal with a wide range of new phenomena that have no clear parallel in the real world.Accordingly, this article seeks to address and analyse the following issues: Firstly, it examines how cybercrime is being addressed at the national and international levels. Secondly, it reviews the state of the existing legislative and regulatory framework and their efficiency in combating this form of cross-border organised crime, taking the European Union as a case study. Finally, the article will conclude by discussing the steps nations should take in their battle against this crime.

Table of Contents

Introduction

I. The Rise of Crime in Cyberspace

A. A Study of the Phenomenon.
B. The Scope of the Phenomenon.
C. Cyberspace Misuse and Abuse.

II. Legislative Approaches

A. National and Regional Strategies. B. The International Dimension.
C. Additional Strategies to Fight Cybercrime: Suggestions for Legal Policy.

Conclusion

Introduction:
Cybercrime is a major concern for the global community.[1] The introduction, growth, and utilisation of information and communication technologies have been accompanied by an increase in criminal activities.[2] With respect to cyberspace,[3] the Internet is increasingly used as a tool and medium by transnational organised crime.[4] Cybercrime is an obvious form of international crime that has been affected by the global revolution in ICTs.[5] As a resent study noted, cybercrimes differ from terrestrial crimes in four ways: “They are easy to learn how to commit; they require few resources relative to the potential damage caused; they can be committed in a jurisdiction without being physically present in it; and they are often not clearly illegal.” [6] On such a basis, the new forms of cybercrime present new challenges to lawmakers, law enforcement agencies, and international institutions.[7] This necessitates the existence of an effective supra-national as well as domestic mechanisms that monitor the utilisation of ICTs for criminal activities in cyberspace.[8]

I. The Rise of Crime in Cyberspace

The term “cyberspace” was coined by the science fiction author William Gibson in his 1984 novel Nuromancer, to describe...
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