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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Essay on Barriers to Addressing Cybercrime Problem

Moreover, if the fight against cybercrimes will be in full force then law enforcement must be technologically capable to deal with cybercriminals.  This means that law enforcement must have the tools necessary to determine whether a cybercrime has been committed, identify the persons responsible, get enough evidence against them and file the necessary case in court.  At this point however, law enforcement is incapable of dealing with cybercrime.  According to Gene Stephens, “The outlook for curtailing cyberspace crime by technology or conventional law-enforcement methods is bleak. Most agencies do not have the personnel or the skills to cope with such offenses.... Cybercrime cannot be controlled by conventional methods. Technology is on the side of the cyberspace offender and motivation is high--it's fun, exciting, and profitable.”  

            Secondly, it is not only the public and the law enforcement who lack understanding and knowledge of the nature of cybercrimes.  Even the Judiciary needs to be updated on cybercrimes.  The judiciary has likewise contributed to this sluggish response to combat white-collar crimes.  The treatment of our judges and magistrates on white-collar criminal offenders are more lenient as compared to blue-collar criminal offenders.  Studies show that the former are less likely to be imprisoned or even if they are imprisoned they more likely to receive lower average sentences. In an article entitled “White –Collar Plea Bargaining and Sentencing after Booker,” it described the disparity of treatment and application of the law insofar as white collar offenders and blue collar offenders are concerned.  It states that blue collar offenders who have stolen a particular amount of money are more likely to receive tougher and stiffer penalty compared to the white collar offenders who have stolen the same amount (Bibas Stephanos, 2005, p.2).  It also states that white-collar offenders are more likely to receive plea bargaining and have more chances of being granted probation  (Bibas Stephanos, 2005, p.2).  This emphasizes the public perception on the issue of white-collar crimes that it is less serious and less grave compared to the blue collar crimes.  

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            The media is also a guilty of contributing to our country’s listless response against cybercriminals.  The media is an important institution in every society.  They have a responsibility to inform and educate the public about the seriousness and evils of cybercrimes.  Their job is to expose to the public and make them understand that cybercrimes do not only affect the affluent but they also affect the middle-class and lower-class.  However, it seems that the media is not performing their solemn obligation to the public.  Research shows that the mass media give more attention on violent crimes and street crimes.  A study was conducted in Canada on whether white-collar crimes are being adequately reported by the mass media.  The study was limited among the leading newspapers in Canada, Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Province, Globe and Mail and Toronto Star to determine if it is true that the media coverage of white-collar crime is lower than other papers.  It revealed that though Vancouver Sun has admitted that its coverage of white-collar crimes is diminishing, the other papers’ coverage were even lower than Vancouver Sun’s coverage of white-collar crimes. 

            At this point, it is still inconceivable how the public and the government working together can stop cybercrimes.  The power of technology is indeed in the hands of the offenders.  They have the skill and the technological knowhow to commit cybercrimes and at the same time protect themselves against being caught.  What makes the task of the government more difficult is the fact that this crime can be committed without the offenders being physically present in the country.  The challenge therefore is not only with strengthening the country’s domestic capability of dealing with cybercrimes but also in forging alliances with other countries so that there will be better results in dealing with cybercrimes.  There are also existing laws that can already deal with these crimes but the challenge is with respect to the execution and implementation of these laws.  It is also imperative that the public be constantly educated about cybercrimes.  This can be done by proper information dissemination of the nature of these crimes, how they are committed, the means by which these crimes could be avoided, and the punishment imposed by law for the commission of these crimes.     

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