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Cyber Crime: A New Way To Commit Old Crimes

Updated on July 4, 2014

Cyber Crimes

It has been said that you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but evidently that does not hold true for the criminal element. Criminal activity started back when Cain killed Abel out of jealousy and greed and it has evolved as fast or faster than human evolution itself. It seems that every time new security or protections are devised to protect online activities, the criminals come up with new ways to breach them. As of now, cyber crimes can be prosecuted under at least forty different statutes but two federal acts account for the majority of them. One of them is the Computer Fraud And Misuse Act (1990), which has been amended at least five times. The majority of the cyber crime statutes are modeled after this act, which allows for a hefty fine and imprisonment from five to twenty years. The other one is the Economic Espionage Act (1996), which allows for much heavier penalties. Criminals convicted under these statutes can expect to receive from $500,000 to $5,000,000 in fines and can spend 10-20 years in prison.

Back In The Beginning

Before there were cyber criminals, there were white collar criminals. The term, white collar crime, was coined by Edwin Sutherland. a sociology professor that literally wrote the book on white collar crime, at least the first one. He defined it as crime committed by a respectable person of high social status in the course of his occupation. Since there are no statutes or court decisions involving respect or social status, convictions were hard to come by. Sutherland was intent on focusing attention on the social class of the perpetrator of the crime rather than of the crime itself. Eventually, Sutherland's definition evolved into variations such as, the type of offender, type of offense, and the organization of the criminals.

The Department Of Justice expanded the definition to include any illegal act by non physical means, using concealment, guile, or deceit to obtain money or property. It wasn't long before cyber crimes were included as well. Cyber crimes are among the most difficult crimes to prosecute due to the anonymity of the internet.



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