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Technology Creates Opportunities for Criminal Activity

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Campus Change Report
25.09.2016
The technological age has changed what we feel is criminal - even illegal downloading no longer feels that wrong.

Legislation cannot keep up with cyber criminals, so experts are depending on people's morality. A digital book does not leave an empty space on the shelf, which is why downloading it illegally doesn't feel anywhere near as bad as stuffing a big novel under your shirt in a bookstore.

The technological age has changed what we feel is criminal - even illegal downloading no longer feels that wrong.According to research, only one tenth of 30 year old people see these two crimes as parallel. In fact, one fifth of those who believe illegal downloading is extremely wrong have done it themselves.

The digital age is changing what feels criminal and is confusing our concept of justice. What is wrong according to criminal law might not actually feel so wrong in our minds. On the other hand, a lot of things we believe are reprehensible, say, stalking someone on social media, are not considered to be criminal activities everywhere.

A researcher at the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control, Anni Lietonen, believes that it is alarming that a number of the general public disagrees with crime laws. Crime prevention and legislation both start from the belief that people believe the legal system is righteous. When this does not happen, the value drops. Obeying the law decreases while legal protections fall off.

For example, the biggest reason for illegal downloading is how easy it is. Getting caught is extremely rare. According to Lietonen stealing online feels victimless. The distance between the criminal and the victim is wider on the internet, which is also the explanation for the increasing amount of online harassments, assaults and frauds.
 

Cybercrime has to feel wrong

Europol´s Cybercrime Center was founded in 2013. It aims to fight against the exponentially increasing amount of cyber crime and tries to speed up the process of new legislations, because the law is still crawling far behind. The problem is that criminal laws related to cyber crimes vary a lot from country to county. What has been criminalised in one country is still legal in others. Even as they advance, cybercrime laws will most likely always stay behind the development of technology.

One public opinion on crime prevention is that we won´t break the law if we are afraid to be caught. On the internet though, we are alone with our morality because the risk of getting caught is shockingly small.

Unfortunately, legislation cannot create a cyber world in which everyone's actions are guided by a common morality. The next challenge of crime prevention is to create an environment in which the urge and possibility for committing a crime stays as small as possible. Hope is being placed in strengthening human morality – cybercrime will be prevented by increasing consciousness and teaching internet etiquette.

 

Push: The challenge of crime prevention is to create an environment in which the urge and opportunity commit a crime is as small as possible.

Social Media Push: Legislation cannot keep up with cybercrime, so crime prevention depends on people's morality. #cybercrime #morality

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