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Crime The Internet Technology

Why 'Cyber Crime' Should Just Be Called 'Crime' 368

Posted by Soulskill
from the prefixes-that-have-worn-out-their-welcome dept.
netzar writes "CAUSE executive director Neil Schwartzman, in a post on CircleID, urges governments and law enforcement to treat cyber crime as what it really is: 'crime': 'When someone is mugged, harassed, kidnapped or raped on a sidewalk, we don't call it "sidewalk crime" and call for new laws to regulate sidewalks. It is crime, and those who commit crimes are subject to the full force of the law. For too long, people have referred to spam in dismissive terms: just hit delete, some say, or let the filters take care of it. Others — most of us, in fact — refer to phishing, which is the first step in theft of real money from real people and institutions, as "cyber crime." It's time for that to stop... This isn't just email. This isn't a war. This isn't "cyber." This is crime.'"
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Why 'Cyber Crime' Should Just Be Called 'Crime'

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  • by Intron (870560) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @05:58PM (#34106210)

    Great idea. It will happen about the same time that "white collar crimes" are treated the same as mugging or burglary.

    • by RapmasterT (787426) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @06:00PM (#34106230)
      and while we're at it can we get rid of the "hate" category of crime too? Personally I'm not much interested in someone's motivations for committing a crime, only the results and their actual actions. I'll even compromise and agree to ratchet the levels of punishment UP to the "hate crime" level for everything.
      • by selven (1556643) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @06:08PM (#34106318)

        Personally I'm not much interested in someone's motivations for committing a crime

        So you don't care if someone's motivation for killing is self-defense?

        I don't support hate crimes either, but intent is, and should be, very important in determining the punishment for an action.

        • Given your reasoned response I'd like to hear why you do not support hate crime legislation.
        • So you don't care if someone's motivation for killing is self-defense?

          Note that "killing" is not necessarily synonymous with "murder". Or with manslaughter.

          In some places, if you kill someone in self-defense, you'll be charged with murder. And usually not convicted.

          In other places, the police will take your statement, cart off the body, and that's the end of it.

          Though in both cases above, a DA up for reelection who thinks that getting tough makes him more likely to win his next election can turn self-d

        • Personally I'm not much interested in someone's motivations for committing a crime

          So you don't care if someone's motivation for killing is self-defense?

          Is that a crime?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by interval1066 (668936)

          Agreed. So-called "hate-crimes" sound too much like the crime-of-the-day. Who in fact defines what exactly a hate crime is? Is the murder of a black person more heinous that the killing of an Irishman? If so, why? Seems to me that murder is murder, and calling one a "hate-crime" puts more worth on some one's life due to their race or creed, which goes completely against the principal of a blind justice system.

          • calling one a "hate-crime" puts more worth on some one's life due to their race or creed, which goes completely against the principal of a blind justice system.

            No it doesn't. What it does do is recognize that persons committing murder for ideological reasons ('cause blacks/hispanics/homosexuals/three-toed purple people eaters are inferior/bad/dangerous) are likely to continue doing so and/or incite others to do the same, and respond to the recognition by keeping them off the streets longer due to the extra risk posed to society.

            • by sumdumass (711423)

              The problem with your concept is that laws don't stop murders from happening. They only prescribe penalties for committing the murder and that's only if you are caught. If someone is caught after committing a murder, they are already up for life in prison or the death penalty. We can't really make them serve two life sentences or send them through the gas chamber twice.

              So lets take this to the next logical level with assault. You say the need is because they do it over and over again. Well, what if someone

        • by cfalcon (779563)

          Killing someone is not by itself a crime.

          Killing someone illegally is murder. That's a crime.

          Killing someone in self defense is not a crime at all.

        • by Kosi (589267)

          Personally I'm not much interested in someone's motivations for committing a crime

          So you don't care if someone's motivation for killing is self-defense?

          Killing someone in self-defense is not a crime.

      • by Intron (870560) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @06:08PM (#34106322)

        Liberal as I am, Hate Crime still makes me uneasy too. So does convicting someone of conspiring to commit a crime that never actually took place.

      • by spleen_blender (949762) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @06:21PM (#34106448)
        You're also ignoring the fact that hate crime has the intent of causing a chilling effect throughout a community IN ADDITION TO the direct harm caused to their target. It objectively causes more harm than normal non "hate" crime.

        You're a fucking brainiac.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          ALL crime has a chilling effect in the area it happens.
          A store gets robbed or a person gets shot, and you think they people are any less traumatized because it wasn't a "hate crime" ?!

          "They just came in and started shooting, but thank god it was a hate crime!"
          Now who's the fucking brainiac.

          • Not you, for sure.

            The intent of other crime isn't the chilling effect though. So are you arguing intent doesn't matter and only the consequences of actions matter? Because I can eviscerate you on that topic if you want.

            Or are you implying hate crime doesn't intend to create a chilling effect? I find it hard to believe you could be so stupid as to think that and simultaneously be capable of operating a computer.
        • You speak as if hate crime is the only violent crime which has a chilling effect.
          Gang violence (join us or else), extortion with associated kneecappings (the boss wants his money).
          In fact any violent crime committed with the intent of *sending a messege* or making an example of someone has that exact effect.

          "hate" crime is nothing special whatsoever in that respect.

          • I speak as if it is the only kind that has the INTENT of creating a chilling effect.

            But that isn't the only kind, organized crime will often try to dissuade competition and create warnings to rivals and send messages with violence. I'm not really sure what I think of that part of it, but I do know that crimes where the action actively intends to send a message should be punished more than crimes with action and no intended message. We as a society have the ability to make laws to try to form a future so
      • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taikiNO@SPAMcox.net> on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @06:24PM (#34106468)

        I agree. i'm a little uneasy charging someone for what amounts to a thought crime, but if you smash a synagogue's window in, vandalize the place, and spray paint swastikas all over the place or you kill a transvestite and carve "FAG" into their chest, it's *very* clear, then let's call it what it is, terrorism.

      • by formfeed (703859) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @06:32PM (#34106550)

        can we get rid of the "hate" category of crime too?

        If a crime is not directed at only the actual victim but against a larger group of people, that intention -be it hate or the intention to intimidate- should be taken into account.

        I might not agree with how the label "hate crime" is used all the time, but it acts as a form of terrorism against minorities and should be treated as such.

        • If it were applied to other forms of violent crime committed with the intent to *send a messege* then that would be fine.
          But it's only applied in a subset of such cases where race is an issue.

          • To whom are messages usually sent in organized crime?

            Generally I believe it is rivals, not communities of law abiding citizens.

            Does that really not make a difference to you?
            • Messages are also aimed at the local community. (to make sure people respect them or more accurately, fear them.)
              Local businessmen to make sure they pay protection.
              Local families to make sure they get recruits and nobody even thinks about joining any rival gangs.

              I'd also ask why you can't seem to talk in a civil manner in this topic?
              You have a somewhat reasonable position but it's overshadowed by your awful discussion style and abusive language.

      • by AuMatar (183847) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @06:36PM (#34106586)

        The idea behind hate crime is that its twofold.

        1)Kill your wife/parents/lover and there's a personal reason for killing that specific person. Kill for reason of skin color or religion and it's random-- anyone in that group is a possible next target. Due to this, the killer is more dangerous to the general population than a normal killer.

        2)There was a time when white men who killed black men in the south were almost always let off, due to the prejudice of the juries. This allowed the whites to be held accountable in federal court for federal crimes, and circumvented a corrupt localized system of justice. Obviously not a good long term solution for this, but it was a necessary short term one.

        • Due to this, the killer is more dangerous to the general population than a normal killer.

          Yes, in the sense that a serial killer is more dangerous than a one time killer. The motivation does not make that person more dangerous to society as a whole. In fact, such a killer is theoretically no more dangerous than a serial killer since serial killers usually target only 1 type of victim repeatedly.

          Obviously not a good long term solution for this, but it was a necessary short term one.

          Until someone invents a pun

          • by AuMatar (183847)

            The problem was not only were they not throwing the book at them- they were letting them off because the juries thought it was ok to kill blacks. The federal law allowed it to be tried in a different set of courts in areas where there were fewer bigots on the juries. No amount of upping the penalty would have helped when the juries are crooked. And you can't throw a jury in jail for their verdict even if it's obvious that its blatantly biased. Start down that road and you're in deep shit.

            You're right,

        • Kill for reason of skin color or religion and it's random-- anyone in that group is a possible next target. Due to this, the killer is more dangerous to the general population than a normal killer.

          This is why I believe it should be referred to as "domestic terrorism". This would have several positive effects. First it would be more accurate, and second, people would understand how it differs from a standard crime. If 3000 people were killed in NYC on 9/11 for 3000 independent individual reasons, that is not nearly as big a crime which aims to terrorize the entire nation. This would also help people to understand the purpose of the distinction. If the people who killed Mathew Shephard killed him

      • Since the primary purpose of the internet is porn or seeking hookups via facebook, it would be logical to consider all cyber crime as sex crime.

      • by drsmithy (35869)

        and while we're at it can we get rid of the "hate" category of crime too?

        Hate crimes are there to help separate the people who are doing harm for some rational reason (I really want his iPod) from the people who are doing harm for an irrational reason (he's a nigger).

        The potential for rehabilitating someone who starts off thinking rationally is much better, hence the value in making the distinction. Though I'm going to guess from your stereotypical right-wing "ratchet the levels of punishment UP to the

      • I know a guy that just hates pot. He cuts it down and takes great delight in burning it... apparently to increase it agony, he only burns a little bit at a time... if he remembers... and isn't busy eating...

        I say he should get the chair, as long as it reclines and has a cup holder... It doesn't matter if he fries, he's already baked.

        Tip your hemp delivery person! I'll be here all week.
      • by hey! (33014)

        Hate crimes are misnamed. The issue is not how the person committing the crime *feels* about the victim, it is what he *depriving the victim of*. What we call a "hate crime" is a deprivation of liberty, not only to the direct victim of the crime, but to countless people like him. In fact, it is tantamount to terrorism.

        When somebody burns a cross on your lawn, it isn't simple trespass. The burning cross says in no uncertain terms,"None of you can live here. Try and you'll die." That's an attempt to alter t

  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @05:59PM (#34106218) Homepage Journal

    Because we're all fed up with the cyber-whatever headlines.

  • Naive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by loteck (533317) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @06:01PM (#34106238) Homepage
    We call it cyber-crime because of the special skills and knowledge required to appropriately investigate and prosecute it. I really don't want a beat cop who makes arrests for street muggings responsible for investigating high-tech crime. Specially trained members of law enforcement will probably be required to enforce especially complex types of crime.
    • Also Naive (Score:5, Interesting)

      by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @06:04PM (#34106278)
      Many modern criminal investigations require specialists. Rape, murder, arson, and so forth -- commonly investigated by specialists. Why should a crime that involves computers suddenly have a special category, when other forms of crime do not?
      • by loteck (533317)
        Because cyber-crime doesn't refer to a mere specialized type of crime, but an entirely different paradigm. This new paradigm of crime not only requires completely new types of training and skill-building, it will require well-written and clear laws that don't yet exist if we're ever going to get out of the "wild west" in which we currently reside.

        Giving it a label helps to identify it and differentiate it, which is probably beneficial.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by _Sprocket_ (42527)

          Because cyber-crime doesn't refer to a mere specialized type of crime, but an entirely different paradigm. This new paradigm of crime not only requires completely new types of training and skill-building, it will require well-written and clear laws that don't yet exist if we're ever going to get out of the "wild west" in which we currently reside.

          New laws? Ahhh - I see. You're part of the problem.

          • by cptdondo (59460)

            New laws? Ahhh - I see. You're part of the problem.

            Huh?! Crime will always seek new avenues of least resistance. New technology creates new opportunities, and not just for consumers but for those with base motives. Once we figure out what we don't want to happen, we have to create laws against it.

            If you don't have a law against it, it's not a crime. Spam didn't used to be a crime. At one time, hacking into a system connected to a public carrier (eg internet or modem) was not a crime since you didn't physically enter the premises; thus no B&E and no

            • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

              Huh?! Crime will always seek new avenues of least resistance. New technology creates new opportunities, and not just for consumers but for those with base motives. Once we figure out what we don't want to happen, we have to create laws against it.

              The methods and avenues of attack may be new, but the crimes themselves tend to be very old. Fraud, harassment, trespassing, etc. We often don't need new laws but rather simply a better understanding of existing law applies to new technology. And an increased awareness of criminal use of that technology.

              You might want to go back over your history a bit. There were criminal cases against intruders well before computer trespass laws hit the books (and the laws that exist are not universal). The B&E b

      • Why should a crime that involves computers suddenly have a special category, when other forms of crime do not?

        Yeah, Lord knows we don't want them adding new categories of crimes.

        Next thing you know, we'll have "sex crimes" and "violent crimes" and "victimless crimes" and such nonsense....

      • by geekoid (135745)

        but you just listed a bunch of special categories of crimes.

        Sense: you post makes none.

      • by jack2000 (1178961)
        Oh yeah? How about the Drugs squad, or "Internal affairs" for combating crime commited by cops. New branches of the law enforcement need to be established as society changes. Also we're fed up with Cyber-whathave you. You should treat it as crime but marely have specifically trained cops handle it
      • Why should a crime that involves computers suddenly have a special category, when other forms of crime do not?

        So, your argument takes as a premise that we don't already have "property crimes", "drug crimes", "organized crime", "violent crime", "sex crimes", "financial crime", "war crimes", "crimes against humanity", and all kinds of other specialized subdivisions of crime besides "cyber crime"?

        Would you perhaps like to reconsider that?

  • But... but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Qzukk (229616) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @06:02PM (#34106246) Journal

    What are our elected representatives going to do to convince us they deserve to keep being paid by our tax dollars if they can't make themselves look busy by making things illegaler?!?!

  • by MarkvW (1037596) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @06:02PM (#34106260)

    Local cops generally don't care about contractual fraud unless you deliver a complete evidence package all tied up with a nice blue ribbon. They'll call it "civil" and blow you off.

    Only big cases get any attention.

    There is enough violence to keep the cops busy.

    • by newcastlejon (1483695) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @06:13PM (#34106388)

      There is enough violence to keep the cops busy.

      Don't forget all those damn kids and their "wacky baccy"!!!

    • by DaveGod (703167)

      It usually is civil. Contracts are rules that the parties to the contract have made up and agreed to be bound by. That means it's up to those parties to take them to court. The police generally have no duty nor authority to act in civil matters.

      The police primarily exist to enforce criminal laws. If you like you can consider criminal laws to be rules that you and all of society are bound by. If you're in breach, society takes you to court - they just have a special department to handle it, called the police

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      In Canada, fraud is fraud. It just depends on what type. However, considering electronic fraud is the most common these days and all of the police services across the country. Even the RCMP won't touch a case unless it involves at least $100,000. However some provincial police services will like the but provincial police aren't uniform. And getting politicians to give police more money to hire more officers, to do the job is hard. Most governments are simply freezing police.

      It's worse in the US where y

  • Car analogy (Score:4, Funny)

    by The_mad_linguist (1019680) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @06:03PM (#34106266)

    So, it's like saying that we shouldn't call people being shot from a car a "drive-by shooting" or someone being run over by a car a "hit-and-run"?

    Ack, this isn't working. BadAnalogyGuy, help me out here.

  • Cyber (Score:5, Funny)

    by Prien715 (251944) <agnosticpope@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @06:03PM (#34106270) Journal

    Cyber sex is sex! You can really get pregnant, not just cyber pregnant.

    Be sure to use a condom!

  • Crime doesn't pay (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RLiegh (247921) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @06:05PM (#34106294) Homepage Journal

    But 'cyber crime' pays off in the form of increased profits, boosted ratings, legislation...

    Boogiemen are big business, as /. knows too well...

  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @06:06PM (#34106306)

    Others — most of us, in fact — refer to phishing, which is the first step in theft of real money from real people and institutions, as "cyber crime." It's time for that to stop...This isn't just email. This isn't a war. This isn't "cyber." This is crime.

    Should we also stop calling crime that affects property "property crime", and crime that involves violent acts "violent crime", and crime that involves criminal organizations "organized crime".

    Because, you know, all that is crime, too. In fact, as with "cyber-crime", the fact that it is crime is why it has "crime" in its name. Adding a more specific adjective to a noun doesn't negate the basic meaning of a noun.

  • by dave562 (969951) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @06:13PM (#34106392) Journal

    There is absolutely nothing illegal about me turning to the person next to me and asking them for their banking credentials. The only difference is that if I do it in real life, they will laugh at me. If I do it on the internet, I am more likely to succeed.

    On another tangent here, the author misses the point. The real crime is that the banks make it too easy for someone other than the account holder to access the account. They make it too easy to get credit based on stolen credentials. The banks should demand token based authentication for online transactions. There are solutions that will send a one time PIN to a smart phone so a separate dongle isn't even necessary. The mechanisms for nearly bullet proof online commerce are available. The system is simply setup in a way that it is more affordable to write off fraud than it is to actively combat it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)

      You are more likely to succeed because when doing it online you can easily lie about who you are.
      If you set up a fake BofA bank branch, you could get a lot of bank credentials.

      • by dave562 (969951)

        That's a good point. The banks haven't secured the communications channel. Geeks know that email isn't secure, but John Q Public still needs to learn the lesson. Whenever my bank sends me an email, it is little more than a notice that there is a message waiting for me. I have to access my online account to read the message. That creates a problem though, because it conditions the response to expect email communications from the bank.

        What is the angle of the banks? They want to get away from having to

        • by Urza9814 (883915)

          Anyone can rent a storefront and set up a branch of your bank too. The difference is, when it's online it's a lot cheaper/easier, and there's a much lower risk. You aren't going to get shut down in a few days, and you can operate well outside the jurisdiction of the people you're ripping off. But hey, look at how many criminals have success with ATM skimmers, or stealing credit card info at restaurants, or anything like that. Those aren't secured either.

          Nothing makes a store front, or an ATM, or any other p

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by maxwell demon (590494)

      There is absolutely nothing illegal about me turning to the person next to me and asking them for their banking credentials.

      If you claim that you are from his bank, I think it is.

  • some laws have a poor fit in the cyber world and need to be reworked for them to work in the cyber world as the cyber world is not the same as the Street.

  • If you can't point to a physical object (like cash) that was physically taken, then nobody has any right complaining. There is no "crime" because crime exists only in a physical space.

    Right?

    I keep hearing that justification. Someone is foolish and loses control of their bank account password. Someone else comes along and makes use of this information. The bank, having no idea who is defrauding whom, assumes their customer must be trying to pull a fast one and just tells them that it is too bad, they los

  • How we got here (Score:3, Interesting)

    by selil (774924) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @06:37PM (#34106596)
    In the 1970s a court case in California during an evidence hearing had an interesting discussion. The evidence of an intellectual property case was bounced as the evidence was all digital in nature. How can you have a theft when you still possess the original? Several avenues were considered and the result were the first computer laws detailing crimes that happened on computers versus normal property thefts. Much abridged version, but this is basically a United States issue that isn't necessarily found in other countries as their property rights are considered differently. Though, the United States has managed to export many of the concerns along with the Internet. Much of this is detailed by Thomas Whiteside in a book called "Computer Capers" circa 1978,

Get hold of portable property. -- Charles Dickens, "Great Expectations"

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