Jjjj Essay Research Paper Computers and crime

Jjjj Essay, Research Paper

Computers and crime

By: Dan Shark

Computers and Crime As our technology has greatly advanced over the past 50 years, our businesses, people, and its governments have been greatly affected by this new technology. With the vast capabilities of computers, the Internet, storage capability, and the manipulation of data, today’s world has been changed forever. Although the benefits greatly outweigh the disadvantages, unless we take a more serious look at this new technology, more people will be hurt, from businesses, families, individuals, and most importantly, our children. Even as new technology has created more uses for its users, firewalls, password protections, and new programs to safeguard our children when viewing the Internet, our vulnerability increases with our perceived values and reliance on this new technology. There are new increased opportunities for the deviant individual than was ever thought of. Computer crime started almost 40 years ago with what was called a hacker. Since that time computer crime has been expanded to include espionage both industrial and governmental, security risks, white-collar crime to include disgruntled employees who “fix” a program, or delete certain files from certain programs, and from embezzlement. Due to the advance technology of computers, including advances that are old before they are placed on the market, certain criminal enterprises find as many ways that they can use these technologies to advance themselves either for financial gain, child pornography, are the use of viruses just to show the world that they can do it for fun and kicks or just to hurt anyone. Due to the disadvantages of this wondrous technology certain laws are being passed just to try and put a dent in this arena. Unfortunately, for every one individual you arrest ten more go free, even our law enforcement agencies are swamped and at this time, there is no light at the end of tunnel. The areas to be investigated in this paper are pedophiles, hackers, how it affects the banking industry, software thievery, and how it effects everyday businesses. According to Wasch (1985), software thievery is out of control and security managers do not have a firm control of this problem. Many employees make copies of software programs, thinking that this is “ok” when in fact it is not. Many software companies spend untold hours and millions of dollars in making a software program. When a employee needs a certain program from home, they either copy the program from the computer, disks that the program came on, or they just borrow the program and take it home and install this on their own computer. This not only hurts the employee’s employer, but this also hurts the software company, as they lose the revenue of this lost sale. There are also individuals who make untold copies of a program and then sell this to unsuspecting customers, just to make a quick buck. Although many software companies make new encoded copy protection system, there are many hackers who find a way to crack the code in order to make illegal copies of the software. One needs to remember that software programs are copyrighted just like a book. According to Bequai (1984), there has been much resistance in Congress to pass a bill concerning any form on of federal computer security protection acts or computer crime bill. Bequai (1984) stated that “Our police agencies, whether local, state, or federal, will tell you that they are presently ill-equipped and lacking in resources to investigate and bring to prosecution criminals who employ computer technology.” He also states that even the criminal justice system can not handle this new influx of computer crime while still trying to stem street crime. Approximately two dozen states at that time, have adopted or enacted their own computer crime legislation bills to have a chance to fight this new crime. This was their first step in the long battle with the many high technology crimes that have abounded. Due to the ineptness of Congress and their bureaucratic red tape, would rather concern themselves with street crime rather than with the white-collar crime that is overwhelming our police agencies. This report also states that there are organizations that our trying to fight these bills, because they feel that “Our free enterprise system would come to an end,” and “Our prisons would be filled with “honest businessmen.” As it turns out, these statement made by these groups were found to be baseless and unfounded. Our free enterprise system is still here, and these so called “honest” businessmen (of course if these “honest” businessmen were not involved in criminal activities, they would not be in prison), are not over crowding our prison systems. Then we have the purists who feel that there are many loopholes in any bill that is introduced and disagree with the term of computers. Most any bill that is passed will have some degree of loopholes, and when we find them, we would make an attempt to close them. Bequai (1984) states that “the threat of computers are two-fold. First, there is the cost of these crimes, and as the professional criminal begins to use this technology, the problem will escalate dramatically. There is justifiable concern ? can open the floodgates of government regulation.” The cost of these crimes although at that time was small compared to other white-collar crimes where now it has escalated to a much higher level. This is a growing problem, and this seems at that time, that Congress was not concerned about it. As of this writing, there has been more reaction from Congress to pass more laws concerning computer crime, that it may be possible that the floodgates have been opened. According to Durkin (1997), “child sex abuse is widely recognized as an especially serious problem in the United States.” Due to the Internet, our fast growing technology, the deviant behavior of pedophiles, and support groups on the Internet, child abuse is getting out of control. The misuse and abuse of the Internet by pedophiles has been receiving a modest amount lately and our law enforcement agencies are trying to combat this problem. Some of the methods that these law enforcement agencies are employing are as follows: logging on to the chat groups and follow what is going on, reading the newsgroups which support pedophiles to find out what is being delivered, supported, or messages that have been posted, to find out if there are any illegal activities being made. Some of these law enforcement agencies are employing the use of these chat groups to lure pedophiles into a false sense of security, to come and meet them “saying that they are about the same age”. Pedophiles on the Internet are a very dangerous combination. They not only try and meet their next victim, but they also send pornography to other children and pedophiles. Even when they are caught, normally they just receive probation. That in itself does not help the situation. The probation officers are not that well up to date concerning the Internet, and computers with pedophiles. While on probation, who is there to monitor the actions of these pedophiles, as they go right back to doing the same thing as before? While on probation, these pedophiles go right back on the Internet, and start their stalking again. Some of these newsgroups that cater to the pedophile, have almost 150 to 200 postings to its bulletin board each month. There is no one to watch and monitor these newsgroups, as this is a costly expense to both the probation office and the law enforcement agencies. According to Sauls ((1993), when law enforcement agencies obtain an search warrant, they must be careful adhere to the established fourth amendment principles. When officials prepare warrants, they must also beware of the Privacy Act of 1980. Those that they are considering searching and seizures for all criminal activity, whether it be embezzlement, computer viruses, bookkeeping of any matter related to drugs, or any other illegal activity, they have rights under these laws. Officers must establish probable causes on the existence of records there are electronically stored, and that they must specifically describe to the magistrate, these records in their search warrants. Due to records now being electronically stored, when executing an warrant, law officials may need expert advice and guidance in order to successfully search all visible and hidden areas, and then sort through personal and criminal records in question. When considering a search warrant, the Privacy Act of 1980 plays an important part in what a law official may do. The question that they must ask themselves are, is the information that was prepared for public dissemination and are they in the possession of an innocent third party. When seeking a search warrant, they must try to explain to the magistrate, in laymen’s terms so that there is no confusion, how a novel criminal act has been committed by means of a computer. As Saul states, “Magistrates are familiar with the mechanics of how a murder might be committed with a gun, but they may have difficulty understanding haw an embezzlement might be accomplished by means of a computer.” According to Coutorie (1995), there is a difference between hackers and crackers. Hackers are those that try and take out code in a computer program, attempting to improve them, without changing the outcome of that program. A cracker, is the opposite, whereas the intention of this hacker was to damage the program. Coutorie states that Gregson, which is in his bibliography, states that “armed robbers will virtually disappear by 2001 because of a cashless society and the prevalence of electronic fund transfers.” Gregson also predicts that because of the high technology in use today, counterfeiting will increase. Any property that uses security devices, will be met by counter measures, and all that our law enforcement agencies will be able to do, is take a report. Jay S. Albanese states that changes in our technology will generate more of an opportunity for thefts which will be exploited by criminals for financial gains. Albanese states that “theft has traditionally been a crime of stealth, requiring speed and agility. The aging of North American population has forced criminals to use fraud as a means of thefts since the now lack this speed and agility and are more educated than their predecessors.” As the article continues, Generation X, having grown up with computers, will use this talent to commit more serious crimes than society has seen. Some of the excerpts used by Coutorie includes the USA Today, which highlighted some of the crimes that have been committed by computers. Some of these crimes are as follows: computer hackers breaking into Equifax, one of the largest credit reporting agencies; two Cornell Universities that created a computer virus that infected computers, Macs” around the world, which wiped out their operating systems; hackers that filed false IRS tax returns, once indicating a retrun, were able to procure a loan; and disgruntled employee who planted a “logic bomb”, which would destroy a computer program months after he was let go, hoping to be brought back as a hero to save the day. The article states that only training and recruiting more individuals who understand the high technology of today, will law enforcement agency’s be able to cope with this future problem. There are three criminological theories that can account for crimes with computers. These theories are as follows: conflict theory, social control theory and, social-learning theory. The following paragraphs will explain what these three theories mean, and then how they apply to the focus of this paper. Conflict theory, which emerged after the labeling theory, has two perspectives, which are conservative and radical. Conflict is a fact of life, where no matter what society or country you may live in, there will always be some type of conflict. The conservative theory has the concept that it uses power and the use of its laws. In society, there are many groups, but usually these groups take sides. Both sides try to exercise control over the other in particular events or situations. When concerning this approach with conflict theory, this approach uses as a field of battle the social issues of society. Normally the side that usually wins are the most powerful, due to the extensive lobbying. These social issues arise from everyday problems in our society. These issues could concern how a law enforcement agency can perform his job, to the ability to control others to their way of thinking. With this conservative conflict perspective, they believe that there are two classes of people. Those of the middle class, which are usually the dominant, to the lower class of people, which are the minority. Individuals or classes that oppose the values, beliefs, or other interests of the winners, will find themselves of the wrong side of the winners and find themselves being classified as criminals. As this perspective states “since law embodies the values of those who create it, law will also be more likely to criminalize the actions of those outside the power group.” To state this in laymans terms, very few of the right side of the law will object to the creation of laws that are placed to protect the innocent, where those who do object, are those that may possibly be on the wrong side of the law. With the radical conflict perspective, there is an inequality in the distribution of power, and scarcity of the resources. This inequality is the difference of “power”, those with and those without. Within this perspective, there is a class struggle and its effect on crime. There are three different fronts on which crime could be affected. The first one is that the law in itself is the means in which the ruling party can enforce on others. The second front is according to radical criminologists is the why they view crime in itself. These criminologists believe that the product of class struggle is all crime which in itself causes individualism and competition within themselves. The third front is that a surplus of labor may cause problems. If we have more labors than there are jobs, then these unemployed individuals will turn to whatever means are available to them, to support their families, habits, and themselves.


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