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NCJ Number: 118437 Find in a Library
Title: Computer Crime Statutes: Are They Bridging the Gap Between Law and Technology?
Journal: Criminal Justice Journal  Volume:11  Issue:1  Dated:(Fall-Winter 1988)  Pages:203-233
Author(s): C C McCall
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 31
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article explores computer crime from both legal and technical perspectives.
Abstract: Two separate approaches to the definition and scope of computer crime are presented, followed by an analysis of the legal and technical responses to this new and developing area of law. A review of the legal system's response to computer crime includes a brief history of judicial interpretations evolving to the present state of legislative enactments as well as the extent of prosecutorial experience in the field. The overview of technical experts' perspective includes a critique of the present computer crime statutes, particularly those drafted by the U.S. Congress and California legislators. The article concludes that Federal and State efforts to enact and amend laws to address computer-related crime reflect a lack of cooperative efforts between the legal and technical communities. The infancy of this legislative area is apparent in the many structural deficiencies in the statutes and the few convictions obtained under them. Applying traditional law to computer crime results in greater expense in the prosecution of offenses only remotely related to the real nature of the acts committed. The problem is further complicated by prosecutors' hesitancy to prosecute under computer crime laws even when comprehensive statutes are available. This is due to prosecutors' familiarity with traditional laws, the tendency of victims to be uncooperative, and a general lack of technical understanding by prosecutors and the courts. This failure to prosecute under the new laws in turn obscures the issues and the data necessary to understand and address computer crime. The article suggests how the gap between the legal and technical aspects of computer crime may be further reduced. 217 footnotes, appended relevant California and Federal law.
Main Term(s): Computer related crime
Index Term(s): Crime specific law reform; Federal Code; State laws
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