Cybercrime Criminal Offence | Criminology Dissertations

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What is Cybercrime?

At this point of time there is no commonly agreed definition of ‘Cybercrime’. The area of Cybercrime is very broad and the technical nature of the subject has made extremely difficult for authorities to come up with a precise definition of Cybercrime. The British police have defined Cybercrime as ‘use of any computer network for crime’ and council of Europe has defined Cybercrime as ‘any criminal offence against or with help of computer network.

The two definitions offered by the British police and council of Europe are both very broad and they offer very little insight into the nature of conduct which falls under the defined term. Most of us do a vague idea what Cybercrime means but it seems that it is very to difficult to pinpoint the exact conduct which can be regarded as Cybercrime.

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For the purposes of the dissertation, I shall attempt to come up with my own definition of Cybercrime; the available definitions do not adequately explain the concept of Cybercrime.

In order to understand and provide better insight into nature of Cybercrime, it will be a good idea to divide Cybercrime into two categories because computers can be used in two ways to commit Cybercrime.

The first category will include crimes in which the computer was used as tool to commit the offence. The computer has enabled criminals to use the technology to commit crimes such as fraud and copyright privacy. The computer can be exploited just as another technical device which can be exploited, for e.g. a phone can be used to verbally abuse someone or stalk someone, someway the internet can be used to stalk someone or verbally abuse someone.

The second category will include offences which are committed with intention of damaging or modifying computers. In this category the target of the crime is the computer itself, offences such as hacking.

Whichever categories the offence committed falls in, ultimately it are us the humans who have to suffer the consequences of Cybercrime.

Now we know that there are two ways in which the computer can be used to commit offences, my definition of Cybercrime would be:

“Illegal acts using the computer as instrument to commit an offence, or targeting a computer network to damage or modifying computers for malicious purposes”

Even my definition cannot be regarded as precise, as pointed earlier that due to the broad and technical nature of Cybercrime, it almost impossible to come up with a precise definition. The term Cybercrime is a social term to describe criminal activities which take place in world of computers; it is not an established term within the criminal law.

The fact that there is no legal definition of Cybercrime within criminal law makes the whole area of Cybercrime very complicated for concerned authorities and the general public,

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