Australian Institute of Criminology

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Digital crime threat

Media Release

16 April 2000

Opportunities for computer related crime are expanding dramatically due to the increasing use of digital technology.

"The exponential takeup of digital technology is contributing to a larger pool of potential offenders and increasing numbers of new targets", Dr Peter Grabosky, Director of Research at the Australian Institute of Criminology said.

Speaking at the 10th United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders in Vienna, Dr Grabosky said the digital crime threat required new enforcement strategies.

Dr Grabosky outlined a number of types of crime which are committed with or against information systems, including vandalism, theft of information services and fraud.

He cited examples, including claims of attacks against major websites in February this year and the recent "sweep" of websites containing fraudulent investment solicitations.

Dr Grabosky told delegates that because information systems also facilitated crime-related communications, one of the fundamental policy issues of the coming decade would be striking a balance between the interests of law enforcement and the rights of individuals to communicate in privacy.

He also noted that one of the more significant aspects of computer-related crime was its global reach.

"Because computer crimes can be committed as easily from the other side of the world as from within one's own jurisdiction, law enforcement agencies and justice authorities have begun an unprecedented degree of cooperation."

"The digital age also requires a greater degree of coordination between law enforcement and the private sector", Dr Grabosky said.

Encouraging transnational and intersectoral cooperation for the prevention and control of cyber crime is one of the basic objectives of the UN Congress.

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