Criminal Justice Essays Example
The world today is more dependent on computers and the internet than it was ever before. The situation is slated to progress in a pattern where all our daily activities would be conducted by computer based artificial intelligence. We have already started to educate ourselves online, shop online, transact online for banking activities, we plan our holidays online, purchase plane/bus/train/ferry tickets online, we choose our dating partners online, we plan weddings online, we even share our daily briefs online; clearly, we are overtly dependant on the internet for most of our daily needs.
However, along with all the advantages, there are certain aspects of society that also follow us into cyber space. Crime, for instance might not find lucrative prey in the real world without complication anymore. For example, drug dealers are moving their trade online. It is definitely easier to remain anonymous on cyber space and sell controlled substances than to do it at street corners anymore. The same behavior holds good for stalkers; now that most of our children and young adults spend more of their free time online. Sexual predators lurk in the vast expanses of cyber space looking to ensnare vulnerable or careless prey.
The internet is host to several thousand scams that are aimed at gathering personal and banking information through dubious emails and surveys that are conducted online. The cons over the internet are both highly devious and almost impossible to solve. In addition, money lost in internet scams are almost impossible to recover. Banking frauds, credit card thefts and even identity thefts are on the rise in present times.
It is easy for polygamy practitioners to pass on as genuine on cyber space. The only crimes that haven’t come to pass online are perhaps rape and homicide. Cyber bullying is a medium that has resulted in the deaths of several hundred young people who committed suicide owing to this act. Hence even instigating and abetting suicide is possible through the internet.
Can criminal justice reach criminals on cyberspace?
The long arm of the law has not been able to efficiently deal with cyber crimes unless the acts included sale of drugs, weapons, child pornography, espionage, cyber bullying, banking fraud, credit card fraud, identity thefts, crippling virus attacks, hacking and terrorist propaganda. The other scams that fleece several innocent users of the internet are seldom looked into. They almost always are neglected. The equivalent of this behavior in the real world has more prominence; since they manifest as pick pocketing, bag snatching and mugging.
The internet offers several safeguards for criminals to remain hidden and usually requires the high end software to unmask actual locations of the perpetrators. Even when there are serious enough charges to pursue, most often the actual perpetrator is identified as a resident of a different country whose cyber laws differ significantly from our own.
Moreover, there is a need for a common platform where cyber crimes can be defined and appropriate sentencing is made possible. It should also be noted that young offenders in this stream of crime are usually absorbed into the rolls of security and antivirus companies for their technical expertise. This practice is not something we can practice for real world criminals even if they are masterminds.
What should law enforcement keep in mind when framing cyber laws?
Quite often the perpetrator for a cyber crime is an under aged juvenile technical whiz who spent too much time on cyber space. Hence the laws that are framed for cyber security and acts of cyber crime have to be measured based on the individual action of each and every case. There cannot be a common code to sentence or punish those involved. The laws cannot be generalized and only have jail terms attached to the crimes. They should provide therapy and opportunities for cyber criminals to actively aid the government to unmask future cyber crimes. Their punishment should have options that allow rehabilitation than long and meaningless jail terms.
Our country is already cutting down budgets for police departments across states and the scope of training existing personnel on the disciplines of cyber space is very limited. The cost of computer courses has been high traditionally and even a basic course on internet security would cost around $400 per head. Hence, we should frame laws that allow the employment of one-time cyber criminals to join support teams within law enforcement that handle the technical aspect of tracking down perpetrators. This would also enable us to modernize the police forces at low cost and with minimal technical training.
With the advent of the Patriot Act, is it possible not to violate privacy and still keep the nation safe from harm?
The NSA’s data mining of emails, accessing of millions of phone records and the use of National Security Letters (NSL) have kept our shores safe from an attack such as 9/11 from repeating itself. However the other aspect of this form of surveillance has almost dubbed the lives of several thousand American citizens into real-time “Truman Shows”. The question has always been raised on the lines of moderation. Are there surveillance mechanisms that can avoid intrusion into our private lives?
The NSA has been able to coordinate arrests along with the FBI and provide security for our nation. The privacy aspect does seem to have been given undue importance among propagandists in recent times. Almost all American citizens are aware of the fact that they could be monitored and their emails are not private anymore. Although almost all of us are watched; especially of our online activities, how many of us are dragged out of our homes to interrogation rooms? The government has given enormous powers to the NSA and FBI however; it has also placed sufficient safeguards that prevent a state of anarchy.
American citizens have been purchasing more mobile phones, opening new email accounts, browsing pornography, adding new photos to Facebook, typing their views on twitter and continue to spend enormous amount of time on the internet using Smartphones and tablets. Evidently the masses appreciate the effort coordinated by the NSA in keeping them and their loved ones safe from mindless and violent acts of terrorism. Hence, there is no real need to moderate the surveillance.
The article’s main objective has been to create a new criminology for cyber crimes. This is justified since the risk factors are considerably low. It is conceived as one of the most difficult to trace crimes and most of the time the actual masterminds are residents of a foreign country. The type of procedures that are used for physical crimes are not the same as in a virtual crime. Hence there has to be a separate protocol followed for the whole operation. There have to be separate laws, scope for warrants, different profiling and a specially trained police unit.
The article’s leaning towards the displacement of the crimes from physical to virtual world are absolute. Gang warfare in the physical world is violent and brutal. On the virtual world, it is a matter of the minds. It is a battle conceived by hacking, stalling websites, defacing web pages and the destruction of intellectual property. The monetary costs could be spiraling. This is an eventual reality and is well documented. The article also echoes the concerns of the privacy of innocent law abiding civilians who come under the scanner even for a poor joke.
The tensions to maintain internal security have been heightened so much that there is a 90% chance to being shot down if we joke about terrorists or threats to the U.S. It is an understandable stance to ask for moderation and normality. However, we can never attain normality as long as a threat such as 9/11 still looms over us. Hence moderation is not the need of the hour; keeping the U.S. citizens alive and well is a higher priority.
The article is well written and well balanced. Its views on the cyber crime are well founded. In fact the next form of terrorism that we could face is through information systems. Similar to a Jurassic Park (the first one) movie, the entire nation’s security is based on the information systems. Our missiles, missile defense system, aircraft, satellites, banking, power, water, food processing and several other parts of our lives are powered by information systems. Hence it is very practical to have a separate agency to deal with such problems. Cyber crime is a separate domain on its own and should have its own criminology theories. These theories should be used to train cyber policemen and policewomen to identify, track, respond and deactivate cyber threats across cyber space.
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