Law and Technology at Crossroads in Cyberspace: Where Do We Go From Here?


Computer crime has evolved to be a serious problem that deserves attention. The Internet-enabled environment facilitates many flexible work opportunities for employees allowing them to work away from their desks. Telecommuting, working from home, and remote computing while traveling is becoming common occurrence in many organizations. Thus organizations are subjected to a wide range of computer crimes through their personnel that is directed towards organizations as well as the public mass in general. Employees, as well as managers, need to be aware of these issues and have a clear understanding of the various types of cyber threats in the current environment and how they could be controlled


The term computer crime has been given several labels, such as cybercrime, e-crime, hi-tech crime, electronic crime, etc. Today there are a variety of computer crimes at different scopes and contexts, and there is a lack of standardized classifications or definitions for many of the activities that could be considered illegal. Computer crime brings tremendous harm to both the public and organizations. For individuals, computer crimes can attack privacy, identity, and personal property. For the public and government, computer crimes can destroy infrastructure and administrative systems and can threaten national security


The most difficult aspect of computer crime is the inability on the part of an individual or an organ figure 1. Approaches to controlling computer crime 64 Law and Technology at Crossroads in Cyberspace nization to spot it on time. The technology trends in network speeds, mobility, and storage further increase the vulnerability as well as the impact of computer crime.

Although, there are no universal guidelines or solutions for all types of computer crime, organizations and nations have tried different mechanisms that fall mainly in three major areas: government legislation, organizational policy, and technological protections.

The Legal Approach and Critical Challenges

Individuals and organizations have become victims of various types of computer crime, such as identity theft, loss of financial transactions or accounts, virus attacks from cybercriminals, etc. U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) (2007), in its cyber-crime report GAO-07-075, mentions four major legal challenges that this epidemic faces: ensuring cyber-crime is reported; ensuring adequate analytical and technical capabilities for law enforcement; working in a borderless environment with laws of multiple jurisdictions; and implementing information security practices and raising awareness.

Organizational Approach

In spite of difficulties associated with the legal actions against the perpetrators, organizations are expected to pay due attention to evade such situations. To minimize liabilities and reduce risks from electronic, and physical threats and reduce the losses from legal action, the information security practitioner must understand the current legal environment, stay current as new laws and regulations emerge, and watch for issues that need attention. Thus security managers in demonstrating due care must ensure that employees know what constitutes acceptable behavior and know the consequences of illegal or unethical actions.

Technological Approach

There are several ways to deal with computer crime using technologies. Management needs to consider the appropriate technologies that should be in place to support the successful implementation of security policies. The security technologies in place and the policies and procedures for acceptable use should be integrated components of any security strategy within an organization. The most commonly used protection measures using technology include.

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