Cyber Criminology as an Academic Discipline: History, Contribution and Impact1

By Jaishankar, K. | International Journal of Cyber Criminology, January-June 2018 | Go to article overview

Cyber Criminology as an Academic Discipline: History, Contribution and Impact1


Jaishankar, K., International Journal of Cyber Criminology


Introduction

Though, the Internet begun with the introduction of computers in 1950's it was only commercially exploited in the late 1980's. Internet has revolutionized the way in which we see the world. Also, many of the routine, mundane works have been made simple by the advent of the Internet. Especially, e-commerce has changed the patterns of marketing and sales behavior and the banking sector enabled its growth. In addition, the entrance of social media has brought people together. It has cut the boundaries and jurisdictions.

There are many positive uses of the Internet. However, it has become an area of Wild West. Many unscrupulous persons started using it for criminal purposes. Notably, the founding fathers of the Internet did not envisage that it will become a medium of criminality or it will create new forms of crime. Though, Internet is an international space, it is only governed by American laws (Jaishankar, 2011a). This legal lacuna further created problems, as many of the countries did not know how to manage cyber crimes in their jurisdictions.

Initially, academics also could not understand cyber crime as it is a new form of crime (Jaishankar, 2007a). Especially, criminologists were very slow in researching cyber crimes (Jaishankar, 2007a), though; their counterparts in the field of computer and internet science surpassed them and created new fields such as information security and cyber forensics. This gap in the field of criminology was well addressed by me and I founded the academic discipline "Cyber Criminology" in the year, 2007. Recently, Ndubueze (2017, p, 17) and Meško (2018, p. 190) formally credited me as the Founding Father of Cyber Criminology.

1. History, Evolution and Definition

Cyber space has been exploited by many fields of study; however, criminology was too late to explore this space and address the new form of criminality called cyber crime. I addressed the causation of cyber crime and found a new academic sub-discipline of Criminology called "Cyber Criminology" in 2007, with the launch of a journal; the International Journal of Cyber Criminology (www.cybercrimejournal.com). I academically coined the term "Cyber Criminology" and defined cyber criminology as "the study of causation of crimes that occur in the cyberspace and its impact in the physical space" (Jaishankar, 2007a, para 1).

As an academic discipline, cyber criminology encompasses multidisciplinary field of inquiry - criminology, sociology, psychology, victimology, information technology and computer / internet sciences. "At its core, cyber criminology involves the examination of criminal behavior and victimization in cyber space from a criminological or behavioral theoretical perspective" (Jaishankar, 2010, 2011b; Ngo & Jaishankar, 2017, p. 4). I created this new field within the larger ambit of criminology for two main reasons. "First, the body of knowledge that deals with cyber crimes should not be confused with investigation and be merged with cyber forensics; second, there should be an independent discipline to study and explore cyber crimes from a social science perspective" (Jaishankar, 2010, p. 26).

Now, the discipline of cyber criminology is more than ten years old and it has successfully entered the portals of academia in the form of courses starting from minor/major courses (University of Alabama, Regis University, Saint Anselm College and Purdue University, USA offer a minor in Cyber Criminology and Florida State University, USA offers a major in Cyber Criminology) to bachelor of science (B.S.) in cyber criminology and security studies (Indiana State University, USA) and Associates in Arts (A.A) Degree in Cyber Criminology (at Arizona Western College, USA). Many of the Universities in the United States have recruited Assistant Professors in the field of Cyber Criminology. Also, many doctoral researchers are involved in research on Cyber Criminology.

2. Contribution and Impact

Though the field of cyber criminology has many contributions and it has immense impact, only two of the major contributions and its impact are discussed here. …

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