5 Intervention on cyber criminality
Earlier on in the course, you have looked at the different types of criminal activities that fall within the cyber criminality, and the different ways in which they are connected. So far you have learned about crimes committed via the internet, which have financial and/or psychological consequences for the victims. While online versions of offline crimes might once have been viewed less seriously, there is increasing recognition that the impact of online crimes can be as great as, or in some cases greater, than offline versions of the crime (for example, victims of online image-based sexual offences suffer longer-term effects due to wider distribution and longevity of images on the web). Initially the law struggled to address online criminality, as existing laws did not always fit the online crimes. However, in some cases (e.g. revenge porn), specific laws have now been developed (Nigam, 2018) to address these more effectively. There is information about the way in which these crimes are being tackled in jurisdictions across the world on the Centre for Internet & Society [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] website.
In some cases, the match between online and offline versions of a crime make it simple to define criminality and pursue the perpetrator using existing laws. For example, it is easy to see that both physically stealing money from a bank, and electronically stealing money from an online bank account, are forms of theft: regardless of the means used to take the money, the financial loss is the same. However, what if the theft was of virtual money or objects that belong to someone in an online world? Should laws be developed to regulate behaviour in virtual settings?