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Cybercrime

Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)

The word cybercrime, an invention of the late twentieth century, is popularly thought of as crime that occurs in cyberspace, a strange, virtual world populated by mysterious comic book-like characters who have magical powers, abilities to manipulate reality in ways that ordinary mortals cannot. Cyborgs (half-man half-machine) fight humans, transform themselves into strange creatures, and move effortlessly through time and space. Only superheroes of magnificent proportions can fight such crime. The practical result of this view is to imagine that cyber criminals are brilliantly talented hackers who can sneak into our homes via our personal computers and steal or vandalize our personal information. Like all myths, there is a little truth to this conception, but on the whole the reality of cybercrime is that it is not a new phenomenon, but simply traditional crime with a different face. In fact, crime constantly changes in response to evolving technologies; it is new to the extent that technologies are new. However, it is also “virtual” (as the prefix cyber suggests) to the extent that our everyday lives are virtual. As it turns out, the virtual nature of our everyday lives is considerable – and has been for thousands of years.

Keywords

  • Credit Card
  • Bank Account
  • Internet Service Provider
  • Chat Room
  • Child Pornography

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Figure 25.1.
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Figure 25.4.
Figure 25.5.

Notes

  1. 1.

    In fact, economists and students of money are generally unable to agree on its definition (Hollander, 2007, pp. 2–3). They observe that it has taken on many different practical forms, often existing side by side. This fact, however, supports the proposition underlying this chapter that, even though much of our everyday lives sit on assumptions that are virtual in nature, because we are so familiar with their exterior utility, we rarely have to pause and consider their virtual existence, leading of course to musings about our own virtual existence – a conundrum that great economist Alan Greenspan (2007, p. 41), arguably the world’s expert on money, faced in his youth when debating with Ayn Rand. So the distinction between virtual and real is, for most purposes, including the Internet, not relevant to everyday life.

  2. 2.

    This practice was first established by Jerome Hall (1935) who identified the changes in economies and market conditions, especially the introduction of banking and paper money, that forced Parliament to enact many new laws, creating, among other things, the crime of embezzlement.

  3. 3.

    See for example http://w2.eff.org/IP/P2P/Napster/ for a review of the several lawsuits brought against Napster and the list of appeals.

  4. 4.

    The caustic Thomas Hobbes was very clear that private property was created by the State and existed only because of the State. Of course Locke, Rousseau, and others had different views. See Newman and Marongiu (2009).

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Newman, G.R. (2009). Cybercrime. In: Krohn, M., Lizotte, A., Hall, G. (eds) Handbook on Crime and Deviance. Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0245-0_25

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