December 1, 2012
Internet Security and Cyber Crime / REVISION
Society as a whole depends upon a basic human need for security. Over the last decade the relationship between security and society has grown complex and the balance between the two has been challenged by the introduction of the internet and digital technologies. Since the internet was developed in the 1960s to maintain communications in the event of nuclear war a lot has changed. By the 1980s, millions of computers, business and personal, were connected. Then by the 1990s e-commerce quickly expanded. Virtually every person on the planet has access to this cyber world and is free to conduct business and to communicate without borders. As businesses and lifestyles have migrated from a physical world to a digital world so have the criminal elements. The growth of cybercrime has governments, businesses, and citizens questioning laws, jurisdictions, and the need to take a stand on their approach to cyber security.
The question of whether or not cybercrime is a serious problem remains a hotly contested topic. By definition, cybercrime is a crime related to technology, computers, and the internet. The most publicized cybercrimes that concern governments, businesses and citizens include: 1) Cracking, gaining unauthorized access to computer systems to commit a crime, 2) Phreaking, obtaining free telephone calls or having calls charged to different account by using a computer, 3) Cyberstalking, harassing and terrorizing selected human and institutional targets using the computer, causing them to fear injury or harm, 4) Cyberpornography, producing and/or distributing pornography using a computer, 5) Cyberterrorism: unlawful attacks and threats of attack by terrorists against computers, networks, and the information stored therein to intimidate or coerce a government or its people to further the perpetrator’s political or social objectives (Schell), 6) Cyberbullying: (which has not yet technically been deemed a crime but has become an increasing concern) internet aggression or digital harassment involving the use of computers or other information technology devices, to harass, intimidate, threaten, or otherwise cause harm to individuals targeted for such abuse. Although most cybercrime is committed in the business sector, cyberbullying has become unprecedented in its ability to reach dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people, making bullying even more devastating. Cyberspace has no boundaries; it can follow you home, anytime, and anywhere. Cyber abuse is rampant among children, teens, young adults and surprisingly it peaks in middle school. This type of bullying affects nearly one in four children, according to statistics in August 2010 by Healthline Networks. In October 2006, after receiving cruel messages on MySpace, Megan Meier, a thirteen year old, hung herself. Megan believed the cruel messages that were sent to her were from a sixteen year old boy that she had met on the site. The messages were in fact a hoax. This is an extreme example and the results rare; however, it highlights what individuals claim is an epidemic of cyberbullying. Legislators across America are recommending new laws or adding provisions to existing laws to stem what they believe is a growing cyberbullying problem. Young people are getting into trouble, both as the victims and as the criminal perpetrators. The decision whether or not to prosecute these young people is not an easy one to make. The legal challenges however, are easy to see. The fact that cyberbullying is taking place online makes it difficult to assign jurisdiction (Floreno). “Those who bully and harass stand in the way of learning and threaten the safety of our children,” maintains Matt Blunt, governor of Missouri, Megan Meier’s home state. Some like-minded analysts believe that new laws are necessary. Others contend that legislatures are overreacting and that such laws may violate civil...