Computer Crimes

By Bakewell, Eric J.; Koldaro, Michelle et al. | American Criminal Law Review, Summer 2001 | Go to article overview

Computer Crimes


Bakewell, Eric J., Koldaro, Michelle, Tjia, Jennifer M., American Criminal Law Review


I. INTRODUCTION

This Article discusses developments in computer-related criminal law and legal literature. As crimes committed with computers often do not respect state or national boundaries, it is important to examine federal, state, and international approaches to computer crime legislation and enforcement. Section I defines computer crime, and explores different forms of computer crimes. Section II describes the federal statutes used for prosecuting computer crimes and analyzes defenses, sentencing, and enforcement strategies. Section III examines state approaches to battling computer crime and resulting federalism issues. Lastly, Section IV addresses international approaches to regulating the Internet as well as the recent cooperation among nations to combat computer crimes.

A. Defining Computer Crime

The rapid emergence of computer technologies and the Internet's(1) exponential expansion have spawned a variety of new criminal behaviors.(2) As a result, there has been a dramatic increase in specialized legislation to combat these new criminal behaviors.(3) While the term "computer crime" includes traditional crimes committed with a computer,(4) it also includes novel, technology-specific offenses that arguably are not analogous to any non-computer crimes.(5) The diversity of computer-related offenses, however, renders any narrow definition untenable. The Department of Justice ("DOJ") broadly defines computer crime as "any violations of criminal law that involve a knowledge of computer technology for their perpetration, investigation, or prosecution."(6)

Accurate statistics have proved elusive(7) because of the difficulty in adequately defining computer crimes.(8) The statistics are also untrustworthy due to victims' failures to report incidents because of the fear of losing customer confidence(9) and the lack of detection.(10) The aggregate annual losses to businesses and governments, however, are estimated to be in the billions of dollars.(11)

B. Types of Computer-Related Offenses

There is no standard computer-related crime and no typical motive for committing such crimes. Common motives include exhibiting technical expertise, highlighting weaknesses in computer security systems, punishment or retaliation; computer voyeurism, asserting a belief in open access to computer systems, or sabotage.(12) Computer criminals can be youthful hackers,(13) disgruntled employees,(14) company insiders,(15) and/or international terrorists and spies.(16) Computer-related crimes are classified according to the computer's role in the particular crime because of the vast variety of computer-related crimes and motives.(17)

First, a computer may be the "object" of a crime: the offender targets the computer itself. Second, a computer may be the "subject" of a crime: a computer is the physical site of the crime, or the source of, or reason for, unique forms of asset loss. This includes the use of "viruses,"(18) "worms,"(19) "Trojan horses,"(20) "logic bombs,"(21) and "sniffers."(22) Third, a computer may be an "instrument" used to commit traditional crimes in a more complex manner.(23) For example, a computer might be used to collect credit card information to make fraudulent purchases.(24)

II. FEDERAL APPROACHES

This Section explores the major federal statutes, enforcement strategies and constitutional issues regarding computer related crimes. Part A discusses the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act of 1996 ("NIIPA" or "1996 Act").(25) In addition, Part A reviews several other key federal statutes in the prosecution of computer crimes. Part B describes relevant enforcement efforts, and Part C examines First and Fourth Amendment issues.

Although the focus of this article is the federal government's approach to prosecuting criminal computer offenses, litigation under recent amendments(26) has centered primarily on civil remedies. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Computer Crimes
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.