Technology, Crime and its Changing Patterns

Leena Pawar

Abstract

In today’s fast growing world we need the help of technological in almost every field. Technology is emerging at a faster pace. Technology which is for the help of humanity is used against humanity by the criminals. It is always said everything which has a positive impact also has a negative impact, has a dark side also. Technology negative impact is its major contribution in growing crime as when it reaches the hands of criminal minded person they use it to fulfil their criminal instinct. With the development of technology a number of cybercrimes are reported day by day, which has posed a major risk on the privacy of people. Today online social networking sites like online dating, facebook, online gaming etc. have become the opened source of getting one’s personal knowledge which is used by criminal minded person to commit crimes like online fraud, hacking cyber stalking etc. Cyber terrorism, a new scope of terrorism in which computer is used for ‘Net War’ as malicious software can be installed in the computer even without the approval of the user and leads to destruction of crash of aircrafts, explosion of gas pipelines, malfunctioning of weapons, derailing of trains etc. Many thinkers argue that networking makes people isolated, decline in social association and increase in aggression and depression. Cyber space is a place, that does not discriminate against race, gender, colour, religion, socio-economic status even in age, that is why every child online is at more risk. Technology is neither good nor bad, it is neutral but its use make it good or bad as the cyber crime is the product of technological development. The purpose of writing this paper is to analysis the changing pattern of technology and crime. The use of technology by criminals, results in evolution of new types of crimes.

Introduction

In every society for the better development of humanity certain social norms are well defined, which defined to the society what well-being is and what is harmful for the society. As, the society develop, so the crime develops. Conventionally crimes are those traditional illegal behavior and crimes such as assault, robbery, dacoits, murder, rape, kidnapping and other act involving violence which are committed with the intention of harming other. Since the beginning of human civilization man has always move towards the progress. This motivation of making progress led to the technological advancement. As a result, today, we are in the age of knowledge revolution which has resulted in technological advancement. As the technology age progresses new methods of crime are coming to the fore.

Technology

Technology is marked by different purpose, different processes and different relationship to established knowledge and a particular relationship to specific context of activity and includes the practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area or a manner of accomplishing a task especially using technical processes, methods or knowledge.[1]

Technology is the use of science in industry, engineering etc. to invent useful things or to solve problems and a machine, piece of equipment, method etc. that is created by technology.[2]

Crime

Crime as defined by John L. Gillin is an act that is socially harmful or that is believed to be socially harmful by a group that has the power to enforce its beliefs and that places such act under the ban of positive penalties.[3]

The word crime was originally taken from a Latin term ‘Crimen’ which means to charge and the ‘Krimos’a Greek word, which is synonymous to a Sanskrit word ‘Karma’ which means a social order, thus the word crime is applied to those acts that go against social order and are worthy of serious condemnation.[4]

Change is the law of nature and today’s fast growing world and man’s instinct for development has lead to the advancement of technology. Technological advancement has dramatically changed the way of living, communication. Now most of human activities are carried with the aid of modern technology as a result we become more dependent of it. The last century has a witness the maximum advancement in the field of technology leading to dependency of every governmental affair, business activity and masses around the world on technology.[5]

With these developments criminals also go advanced; they create new and different methods of creating crime and as a result crimes in the society also increase and new ways of committing crime arises. Now, criminals take the help of advance technology while committing crime. Earlier crimes are limited only to local areas but now with the influence and uses of science and technology national and international crime arise and becomes a common phenomenon.

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Technological advancement has created a new opportunities in crime for criminal minded person as any information is just a click away by the internet development. Criminals take the advantage of technological advancement and modified their area of criminal operation. They take the advantage of information available on the internet and commit the crime like cyber hacking, cyber stalking etc. As the internet provide the cyberspace to criminals for emerging new types of crime known as cyber crime. By the use of internet criminal in fact cyber criminals hack websites, implant viruses, access sensitive information, commit online fraud etc.

These types of crime become a matter of concerns for nations. As everything in today’s world depend on software. All the information can be easily access from the internet. Man through the use of social sites put their personal information on these sites and these are access by the criminals for committing the crimes like cyber stalking, cyber harassment. Online electronic transfer technology has given the rise to online fraud. Now even the area of committing the crime has enlarged. As traditionally it confined to local area now it shifts from national to international. A person sitting in one country commits the crime in another country.

Changing Pattern of Crime

The nature of crime has gone through a great change by the advancement of technology. Technology not only facilitates the commission of many existing forms of illegal conduct but also presents a target for some new forms of illegality which are directed at technological products and services themselves.[6] Crimes committed by the use of computer can be split into two groups- the first group is one that targets computer networks, includes: malware, viruses, code, hacking, spam and vandalism, while the second group of crimes is that who uses the computer networks and devices to participate in criminal activity and it includes: identity theft, internet scams, cyber stalking, fraud, harassment, drug trafficking, cyber terrorism, copyright infringement, child pornography and the disposal of stolen goods.

Types of Crime using Technology

Hacking

An unauthorized access to computers by a person, who destroys, deletes or alter any information residing in a computer resource or diminishes, its value or utility or affect it injuriously by any means with intent to cause or knowing that he is likely to cause wrongful loss of damage to the public or any person, person is said to have committed an offence of hacking and the person who commits it is known as hacker.[7]

Cyber Pornography

Cyber pornography is the act of using cyberspace to create, display, distribute, import or publish pornography or obscene materials, especially materials depicting children engaged in sexual acts with adults and is a criminal offense classified as causing harm to persons.[8]Pornography on the internet is available on a different layout it ranges from picture and short animated movies, to sound files, users used cyberspace to creates sex, sex life, sex act and arrange sexual activities from computer and the focus is on children and teenagers.[9]Cyber pornographer’s uses cyberspace for ease dissemination and distribution to sell their products to a person who is sexually attracted to children known as paedophiles.[10]

Cyber Stalking

Stalking in the common parlance means harassing or threatening behaviour which an individual exhibits towards other. When an individual uses cyberspace for stalking, it is known as cyber stalking. It is on line course of conduct of a person by which the targeted person is terrorized, embarrassed, ashamed, molested outrages or frightened. Cyber stalking is using technology to stalk or repeatedly harass another person. It can be used in making unwanted contact by calling, emailing, texting, messaging or sending offensive material; sharing or threatening to share photos videos personal information; posting humiliating, abusive or intimidating comments about a person on social media.[11]

Cyber Harassment

Cyber harassment refers to online harassment. It is the use of email, instant messaging and derogatory websites to bully or otherwise harass an individual or group through personal attacks.[12]It is the use of information and communication technology (ICT) to harass, control, manipulate or habitually disparage a child, adult, business or group without direct or implied threat of physical harm includes the verbal sexual, emotional or social abuse of a person, group organization in which primary goal of cyber harasser’s is to exert power and control over the targeted children.[13]

Cyber Terrorism

The intentional use of computer, networks and public internet to cause destruction and harm for personal objectives is cyber terrorism, its objectives may be political or ideological since this is a form of terrorism.[14]The cyber- terrorist is a criminal who uses computer technology and the internet, especially to cause fear and disruption.[15] It includes internet bomb threats, technology driven crimes or physical attacks using malware, to attack individuals, governments and organizations.[16] It is the intentional use of computer, networks, and public internet to cause destruction and harm for personal objectives and these objectives may be political or ideological as it is a form of terrorism.[17] It is a pornographic material which is designed, published or distributed through the medium of cyber space.

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Email Phishing

One of the easiest forms of cyber attack for a criminal to carry out is phishing that uses disguised email as a weapon. It is a method of trying to gather personal information using deceptive e-mails and websites and the goal is to trick the email recipient into believing that the message is something they want or need e.g. a request from bank, and to click a link or download an attachment.[18]

Internet Fraud

Internet fraud refers to any type of fraud scheme that uses email, web sites, chat rooms or message boards to present fraudulent solicitations or to transmit the proceeds of fraud to financial institutions or to others connected with the scheme.[19]It is the use of internet services or software to defraud victims or to otherwise take advantage of them. Frequent instances of internet fraud include business fraud, credit card fraud, internet auction fraud, internet fraud etc.[20]

Password Trafficking

For the users of computerized information system the most common control mechanism id the use of password. The developments of technology have made passwords vulnerable to successful attacks of the intruders. Password trafficking refers to the act of sharing, selling or buying stolen passwords which can be used by criminals to gain access to the victim’s bank account on his personal records.[21]It is acquiring someone’s password and posting it on the internet for the whole world to see.[22]

Malware

Malware is short for malicious software, is a blanket term for viruses, worms, torjans and other harmful access to sensitive information.[23]These are the programs that can attack computers, phones, tablets or any other such digital devices. It is a software programs which is designed to damage or do other unwanted actions on a computer system. It can also be installed on a computer manually by the attackers themselves, either by gaining physical access to the computer or by using privilege escalation to gain remote administrator access.[24]These malware can infect the computer by different ways like:-worm- that reproduces itself, virus- that spreads through normal programs and slows down the device. Trojan- that cannot reproduce itself but masquerades as something the user wants and tricks them into activating it so it can do its damage and spread.[25]Spyware is a software that installs itself on to devices and steals personal information of the user.

Cases

The Bank NSP case is the one where a management trainee of the bank was engaged to be married. The couple exchanged many emails using the company computers. After sometime the two broke up and the girl created fraudulent email ids such as “Indian bar associations” and sent emails to the boy’s foreign clients. She used the banks computer to do this. The boy’s company lost a large number of clients and took the bank to court. The bank was held liable for the emails sent using the bank’s system.[26]

In U.S. v. Joseph C. Bledesoe[27] the defendant was convicted for knowingly publishing a notice over the internet offering to exchange child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2251(d)., the defendant appeal this conviction and sentence. The U.S. Court of Appeal for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the conviction and sentence.[28]

In the month of February, 2017 the Special Task Force of Uttar Pradesh Police busted one of the biggest internet frauds, and arrested the trio of Anubhav Mittal, Sridhar Prasad and Mahesh Dayal from Sector 63 and seized nearly Rs. 500 crore. The accused used to run a portal ‘socialtrade biz’ under which an investor had to pay anything between Rs. 5750 to Rs. 57,500 in the company account to become the member and earn Rs. 5 per click.[29]

A British teenager arrested in FBI sting over internet bomb threats sent to US schools, universities and airports. FBI linked him to a series of bomb hoaxes on Twitter that led to airlines being grounded and military jets scrambled.[30]

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The State of Tamil Nadu v. Suhas Kutti[31]  case is related to the posting of obscene, defamatory and annoying message about a divorcee woman in Yahoo Messenger Group. In this case emails were sent to the victim through a false email account opened by accused in name of the victim asking for information. This resulted in annoying phone calls to the lady. The accused was a well known family friend and was interested in marrying her but she married another person and this marriage ended with a divorce. The accused started contacting her once again, on her refusal to marry him; the accused harass her through the internet. In this case 18 witnesses and 34 documents and material objects were examined. The Court needed the expert’s advice of NAAVI and other evidences including Cyber Cafe Owners. The accused was found guilty u/s 469, 509 of IPC and 67 of IT Act and was convicted and sentenced for rigorous imprisonment for 2 years u/s 469 of IPC and also to pay a fine of Rs. 4000.

Conclusion

Everything that has a positive impact also has a negative impact or dark side. Technological advancement that is for the benefit of humanity is used against the humanity by the criminal minded person. Due to the better and developed communication technology criminals in the modern era are more organized and are continually adopting new techniques and their network goes beyond the national boundaries. Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India, a technocrat also had stated that, technology is definitely an essential element of change in all spheres of life. The human element involved also is an important factor. If technology is properly used, it can bring about tremendous changes for the betterment of life. Any change we contemplate is for speedy justice delivery mechanism keeping in focus the quality, transparency and public accountability.[32]


[1] Noel Cox, Technology and Legal Systems 63 (1st ed. Routledge, 2006).

[2] Merriam_Webser Learner’s Dictionoary, Merriam-Webster, An Encyclopedia Britannica Company, (2017)

[3] Hugh J. Klare, Changing Concepts of Crime and Its Treatment 38, (ed., 1969)

[4] Glory Nirmala K. and Serkaddis Zegeye, The Concept Of Crime, Abyssinia Law, (Mar., 2012), https:///www.abyssinialaw.com

[5]  B. R. Suri and T. N. Chhabra, Cyber Crimes, 41, (Ist ed. 2002)

[6] Adam Graycar & Peter Grabosky, The Cambridge Handbook of Australian Criminology 25 (ed.2002)

[7]  Farooq Ahmad, Cyber Law In India (Law On Internet),397 (3rd ed., 2008)

[8] Cyberpornography, Your Dictionary, (November 19, 2019), https://www.yourdictionary.com

[9]  Mu’azhe Legal Framework, 3(2), Global Journal of Politics & Law Research 45-56, (Apr. 2015)

[10]  Ibid

[11] Australian Government, What is cyberstalking?, eSafetyWomen, Office of the eSafety Commissioner (November 19, 2019), https://www.esafety.gov.au

[12] USLegal, Cyber Harassment Law and Legal Definition, (November 19, 2019, https://definitions.uslegal.com

[13] Nuccitelli, M., Cyber Harassment Internet defamation and Internet troils, IPREDATOR INC (2019),

[14] Nosrati, M., Hariri, M. & Shakarbeygi, A., Computers and Internet: From a Criminological View,

    International Journal of Economy, Vol. 2 (4), Management and Social Sciences, 104-107 (2013)

[15]  Vocabulary.com dictionary; https://www.vocabulary.com

[16] Curran, P., Cyber Terrorism: How real Is The Threat?, Checkmarx, (2016)      

[17] Masoud Nosrari, Mehdi Hariru , et. al., Computers and Internet: From a Criminological View, 2(4), International Journal of Economy, Management and Social Sciences, 104-107 (Apr. 2013).

[18] Josh Fruhlinger, What is phishing? How This Cyber Attack Works and How This Cyber Attack works and How to Prevent It, CSO, (Feb., 2019).

[19] Australian Federal Police, Internet Fraud, (November 19, 2019), https://police.act.gov.au.

[20] FBI, Internet Fraud, Scams and Safety, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S.

[21] Rock Gassmann, Password Trafficking, Prezis, (November 19, 2019), https://prezi.com

[22] Lewis, J. A. & Baird, Z., Cyber Security: Turning National Solutions Into International Cooperation, 25 (4), Significant Issues Series, 62 (2003) .

[23] Josh Fruhlinger, What is Malware? How to Prevent, Detect and Recover from it, CSO, (Jan., 2019).

[24] Ibid

[25] Ibid

[26] Talwant Singh, Cyber Law & Information Technology, (November 19, 2019), https://delhidistriccourts.nic.in

[27] U.S. v. Joseph C. Bledesoe 04/4276, 177 Fed. Appx. 311

[28] Vakul Sharma, Information technology: Law And Practice, 217 (3rd  ed. Reprint 2012)

[29] Ians, Uttar Pradesh police bust online fraud of Rs. 3,700 crore, The Economic Times,Feb. 02, 2017 economictimes.indiatimes.com

[30] James Tozer, The Daily Mail, MailOnline, June 26, 2015, www.dailymail.co.uk

[31]  State of Tamil Nadu v. Suhas Kutti 4680 of 2004 Criminal Complaint.

[32] Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, Address during the launch of computerization of courts in National University of Advanced Legal Studies, (July 9, 2007).