Time To Stop Being So Fascinated With The Cyber- Part Of Cybercrime

from the it's-just-crime dept

In the past, we've noted that when technology is somehow involved in a crime, suddenly people (and especially the press) seem to forget about the actual crime that's happening and focus just on the technology. It appears others are noticing this as well. Slashdot points us to a nice rant by Neil Schwartzman pointing out that it's silly to single out "cybercrimes" as being "cyber" at all: they're just crimes. The fact that you're using a computer or the internet as part of it doesn't change facts when a crime is being committed, and at times people seem to get so focused on the cyber- part that they miss the seriousness of the crime itself:
When someone is mugged, harassed, kidnapped or raped on a sidewalk, we don't call it "sidewalk crime" and call for new laws to regulate sidewalks. It is crime, and those who commit crimes are subject to the full force of the law...

Some of these crimes involve technology. So what? Criminals have used technology before.

Some of these crimes cross borders. So what? Crimes have crossed borders before.
He similarly attacks the concept of "cyberwar" and the fact that various governments are hyping that up these days:
While we are at it, we should mention 'cyber-warfare', something often conflated with cyber-crime. Cyber-crime is not "cyber-warfare." There may be state or terrorist agencies copying the tactics and methods of these criminals, but that does not mean that the criminals must be left alone until new cyber-warfare agencies have been created and funded.
But, of course, by naming it "cyberwar," it creates something that seems "new," and with something "new," money can flow. The reason for these new "cyber-war agencies," is money. The suppliers want to sell to the government, so they hype it up. The folks who want more power get to set up an entirely new group -- and in an area that's considered "hot." The use of "cyber" is generally there to mislead people, and often for the sake of money.


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  1.  
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    rw (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 5:23am

    Nailed it.

    I've thought pretty much the same thing. I just wish I'd actually said it.

     

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    Dan, Nov 10th, 2010 @ 6:09am

    say it ain't so!

    Downloading music is a crime?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 10th, 2010 @ 6:13am

    The use of "cyber" is generally there to mislead people, and often for the sake of money.

    Standard techdirt conclusory, faith-based claim.

    Surely you can do better than this.

     

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    Free Capitalist (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 6:16am

    But.... computers are evil!

     

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    Depends, Nov 10th, 2010 @ 6:18am

    Re: say it ain't so!

    Depends if you are downloading copyrighted music or not.

     

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  6.  
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    Nick Coghlan (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 6:20am

    Re: say it ain't so!

    To take a facetious comment at face value...

    In the US? No, copyright infringement for personal use is usually just a civil matter.

    The RIAA/MPAA/BSA would like everyone to believe it's always a crime on par with theft, though.

    Not that this article had a word to say about copyright infringement (it was about real crime, you know, the kind that actually destroys innocent lives, rather than the kind that makes a studio exec have second thoughts about buying a second Porsche).

     

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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 6:26am

    Re: say it ain't so!

    No, it is more of a tort. Civil infraction or offense.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 10th, 2010 @ 6:26am

    "... it's silly to single out "cybercrimes" as being "cyber" at all: they're just crimes ..."

    I guess it's possible you are unaware but in the last 15 years the world has implemented an almost ubiquitous something called the "internet" which facilitates many crimes which were not feasible 20 years ago. Many of our laws were not written with the internet in mind and are now struggling to cope.

    Maybe there are others like your self who don't understand what the cyber in "cybercrime" refers to, but perhaps you could research that as if you were a real journalist ?.

     

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    Freak, Nov 10th, 2010 @ 6:44am

    Re:

    Counter-example?

    Provide an example where the cyber part is an important distinction from normal crime, and relevant to the subject of this article.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 10th, 2010 @ 6:51am

    Re:

    Standard techdirt conclusory, faith-based claim.

    Surely you can do better than this.
    Really? ok... let's see if we can get a genuine debate going.
    Recently for example there was an article here about how the US government wants to mandate putting a "backdoor" into all systems for the NSA to monitor. This to "protect our critical systems against cyber attacks".

    Many many people including, I think without dissent, every technical opinion pointed out how ludicrous that is and how impossible to actually acheive and therefore concluded that it was motivated by something else.

    That would seem to be 1 example of the term "cyber attack" or "cyber war" being used to mislead people. Would you like to respond with an example of something recent containing "cyber" in the political arena (i.e. not medical, literary, or RPG reference) that is a valid concern?

    Then we can debate the relative merits of the 2 perhaps.

     

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    halley (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 6:57am

    Re: Re: say it ain't so!

    This is a common over-simplification that annoys me. Depends if you are infringing by not complying with the license terms pursuant to an active copyright or not. All creative works gain copyright protection upon creation; some creators liberally grant duplication permission in their licensing terms; some creators disavow the copyright protection so it enters the public domain.

     

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    Jes Lookin, Nov 10th, 2010 @ 7:09am

    Simple Definitions

    Unfortunately, in this Tea-Pooper world, even the obvious passes most people by - particularly anything requiring some smarts like technology (cyberating?) or academics (cypherin'!).
    Computers and related technology are only TOOLS. Just like any physical tool. So, it should be obvious that the people using the tools are the criminals... but no.
    Also, it's well documented that the The RIAA/MPAA/BSA are funding this cyber-scam for their own purposes. Unfortunately, our plutocracy in the US goes on with most people's approval.

     

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    fogbugzd (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 7:13am

    Re: Re: say it ain't so!

    >>Depends if you are downloading copyrighted music or not.

    And that depends on who is talking about the downloading.

    • From the reporter's perspective the distinction doesn't matter because recognizing the distinction would destroy the premise of my otherwise brilliant literary endeavor.
    • From the perspective of the RIAA, "If it isn't a crime, we would like it to be." If hampering illegal copies also hampers downloading non-copyrighted work (i.e., non-RIAA material) then it is a double win for us!
    • From the perspective of an avid music downloader it is only illegal if you get caught.

     

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    J.D. (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 7:14am

    Re: say it ain't so!

    The original article doesn't even mention file sharing -- and that was quite intentional on the part of the authors. We're talking about crimes that everyone (or at least everyone sane) agrees are crimes.

    http://www.cauce.org/2010/11/kidnapping-theft-and-rape-are-not-cyber-crimes.html

     

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    IshmaelDS (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 7:35am

    Depends on how you use it.

    I don't particularly care for the term cyber-crime either, but we use other words to describe crime all the time. There is violent crime, street-crime, drug-crime, gun-crime, etc. Cyber-crime is just another definition to limit the type of crime that is being talked about. Do some people get it wrong and use it to describe just about anything that had a computer involved at all? absolutely and those people need to be corrected. That doesn't however mean that the term shouldn't exist.

     

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    interval (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 7:37am

    Re: Simple Definitions

    "Unfortunately, in this Tea-Pooper world..."

    "Tea Pooper"??

    Assuming your besmirching the tea party movement, what in THE HELL do they have to do with this?

     

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    interval (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 7:44am

    Re: Depends on how you use it.

    "Cyber-crime is just another definition to limit the type of crime that is being talked about."

    Why does it have to be limited? Limited in what way?

    "That doesn't however mean that the term shouldn't exist."

    I completely disagree. Crime is crime in a blind justice world, categorizing it gives politicians and others with any kind of agenda the ability either downplay or up the severity of the crime to fit their needs. Completely against the moires of a blind justice system. There's no legitimate reason to second-guess or distort what the people, the real writers of statutes and penal codes, are trying to convey. If you want a society based on laws that bend and fold with the times and the "feelings" of the masses I highly recommend you buy one of these islands in the pacific and start your own society because I want none of it here.

     

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    IshmaelDS (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 7:57am

    Re: Re: Depends on how you use it.

    I never suggested it should be used to downplay or up the severity of the crime. It is useful however to limit the type of crime we are talking about. If I go punch a guy in the face and steal his wallet that's a violent crime. If I just steal his wallet that's a non-violent crime. I think it's valuable to know that difference and report on it as violent vs non-violent. It makes it easier for the public to understand what happened, that however doesn't mean it should be abused. Like I said I don't agree with a lot of what is reported with the term "cyber-crime" that doesn't mean it's not a valuable label, it just means we need to educate reporters and politicians. That takes time, any new type of crime is always over-reported at first, and with the advent of the 24-hr news media it's that much worse.

     

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    interval (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 8:14am

    "I never suggested it should be used to downplay or up the severity of the crime."

    No, but you implied it by mentioning a measuring stick at all. See, already my point is illustrated. Best to remove all doubt and not allow such a measure, since its not in the laws anyway.

     

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    IshmaelDS (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 8:30am

    Re:

    That's pretty circular logic. You stated something so therefore what you stated is right? You are incorrect and I'm showing why you are, just like we should be doing with these reporters and politicians that are incorrect. Wow, look at that, my logic isn't even circular.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 10th, 2010 @ 8:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you use it.

    If I go punch a guy in the face and steal his wallet that's a violent crime. If I just steal his wallet that's a non-violent crime.
    Except there you're using "violent" vs. "non-violent" to indicate a severity of the crime, which is useful as in theory it should relate to sentencing.

    Both would fall under the artificial bucket "street crime" though, and how is it important to seperate a mugging on the street from a mugging where, for example, the victim is attacked in their own home to the same result?

    Such descriptors seem mostly to be used by politicians and new media to elicit a specific emotive response to an event - to manipulate if you will the audiences reaction.

    "Street crime" for example has the emotive content of gangs and "ooo the youth of today, it's not safe to go out at night"

    "Cyber crime" on the other hand, is generally used to conjure the image of the "hacker" as portrayed in many action drama series - hidden, anonymous, with god-like powers to enter any system and take or do what he wants with some nefarious master plan to 'Destroy A-merica!", and only ever stopped by the few plucky heroes of law-enforcement with a flash of intuition just in time for the end credits. It has connotations of "big brother", and since the technology is not well understood the fear of the unknown rears it's head too, with a dollop of mysticism thrown in too.

    Cynical? Maybe so... but that doesn't mean I'm wrong. "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean everyone isn't out to get you."

     

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    IshmaelDS (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you use it.

    Okay, all very good points.
    "Both would fall under the artificial bucket "street crime" though, and how is it important to seperate a mugging on the street from a mugging where, for example, the victim is attacked in their own home to the same result?" In this scenario one would probably have home invasion as the charge rather than mugging, unless, it was over the internet that the "mugging" happened. Then it wouldn't be street crime, it wouldn't be a home invasion, it would be a cyber-mugging, in which case your both describing the severity of the crime, as well as the method. While it was wrong, you could argue convincingly i would think that it was less wrong then breaking into someones home and stealing from them, as the personal violation would probably feel considerably less.

    As to your other points I have no doubt that there is a certain emotive content to the word, but like I said before we need to educate that away, not stop using it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 10th, 2010 @ 8:46am

    Isn't a gun technology? Of course we as a warrior society will accept the restrictions put on us in the name of 'CyberWar' or just another way to hold us down. Growing up in the United States I have seen a war or multiple wars every decade. I have never lived in a time of peace. We always act so surprised when we are attacked. Yet we always have an enemy. If you have enemies you get attacked. Duh!

     

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    DS, Nov 10th, 2010 @ 9:00am

    Sort of like how people are fascinated about the 'hate' part of 'hate' crimes, and how, in the grand scheme of things, it does not matter either?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 10th, 2010 @ 9:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you use it.

    As to your other points I have no doubt that there is a certain emotive content to the word, but like I said before we need to educate that away, not stop using it.
    My point was that the emotive content is not something that can be "educated" away. It's exactly the intent in using the phrase in the first place - certainly when it's used in the view of the public anyway.

    I'll grant that police may use such phrases in certain situations for classification that may have validity "in the trade" as it were, but I'd contend that classification is very definitely not the primary intent in most cases when it is used in a news article or political speech. Education isn't going to sort that out for you.
    News is entertainment and emotions get better ratings than dry fact and politics is a popularity contest and emotions are a very good way of tugging the electorate around.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 9:18am

    Re: Re:

    I challenge him to find a crime where the cyber part is important at all. Screw relevant to the article.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 9:24am

    I've heard this before

    Government funded organizations creating technology no one needs for a war that doesn't exist for the sole intent of getting more money out of the government when the real fix is just pulling a cable from a wall. Sounds like the beginning of Dark Helmet's book Digilife.

     

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    Scott (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 9:32am

    It always seems to relate to marketing!

    I have to agree with the writer, ".....generally there to mislead people, and often for the sake of money." What once was, will always be!!

    As a techno-geek in the digital world I often find myself laughing. I remember getting my first CD Player and the salesman trying to sell me "digital ready" speakers and headphones. I see the same thing happening with DTV in this millenium. As PT Barnum once said "There's a sucker born every minute", however I'm very glad it wasn't me!!

     

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    darryl, Nov 10th, 2010 @ 9:36am

    Ofcourse, Mike there is no cyber threat, or crime.. in cyberspace.. its a Utopia !!

    When someone is mugged, harassed, kidnapped or raped on a sidewalk, we don't call it "sidewalk crime"

    Thats right, we dont call it 'sidewalk crime', we call it 'street crime'.

    Like we call 'drug crimes', crimes of passion, domestic crime.

    Ofcourse, they define specif types of crime, and not lump it all under 'CRIME'. That would be stupid would it not.

    Mayby if you think all crime is the same than you could say that, but not all crime is the same.

    Some crime is done entirely by computer and on the internet, by that definition cybercrime is the perfect name for it.

    WE all know you like to try to down play what is considered and IS a real problem. Just because you cannot see that there is a problem does not mean that no problems exist.

    Its clear, that even though you do not understand the importance of the issue, the people who actually matter do.. for that we can be thankfull.

    If you actually believe cyber crime does not exist why dont you post all your financial details on this site, and see what happens ?

    (then again, you probably dont make alot selling crystall balls.. Mike's version of a paywall LOL)..

     

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    Freak, Nov 10th, 2010 @ 9:36am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm pretty sure there's a privacy violation somewhere which can be justified as only a crime if one piece of data is connected to another.

    In that case, it could only be a 'cyber' crime, in the sense that the availability of data and ability to cross-reference it is only possible with a computer, ('cyber' in the sense that you would have to recognize the computer aspect of it as important).

    Just as an example that's tangentially related, as a phone company, I'm entitled to keep records of and look at the activity of a phoneline. Phone numbers are of course, public. But if I know which set of activity is tied to which phoneline, without getting permission from the user, it's a privacy violation.
    The main problem with that example is that no computer is necessary.
    The other main problem is that if we imagine this extended to a level where a computer is necessary, it would probably be a matter of scale rather than the tool that makes it different, so it still wouldn't be cyber.

    TL;DR: I don't want to outright claim that ALL cyber-crime is really just crime, but I do agree that everything mentioned or hinted at in the article is some form of fraud, theft, or 'normal' crime.

     

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    IshmaelDS (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you use it.

    "I'll grant that police may use such phrases in certain situations for classification that may have validity "in the trade" as it were,"
    That's exactly the point I'm trying to make.

    "but I'd contend that classification is very definitely not the primary intent in most cases when it is used in a news article or political speech. Education isn't going to sort that out for you.
    News is entertainment and emotions get better ratings than dry fact and politics is a popularity contest and emotions are a very good way of tugging the electorate around."
    That part I'm not debating other than to say I think that is what we need to change, will it be easy, no, but I do think it is necessary to make the fight.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 10:16am

    Re: Ofcourse, Mike there is no cyber threat, or crime.. in cyberspace.. its a Utopia !!

    You're putting words in Mike's mouth. He's not saying crime on computers don't exits, he's not saying we don't have crime on the streets. He's saying that an assault on the street is prosecuted as assault not street-assault. Assault on a farm is not farm-assault it's just assault. Tacking on "street" or "farm" does not make the punishment greater.

    Because it happens in one place does not make it worse then if it happened in another. You get your identity stolen, if it's online or you got your wallet stolen, it's fraud. You get harassed on Facebook or in the playground, it's harassment.

    Don't be a moron darryl.

     

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    TtfnJohn (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 10:18am

    But this ISN'T new!

    When we talk about "cyber" crime or espionage we aren't really talking about anything new.

    In reality what's happening, if it's happening to the extent those who are whipping up a panic about it, is a direct descendant of intercepting a nation's or a company's "signals", if you like, then overcoming the coding used to hide the actual meaning and reading the stuff.

    The most famous of these would be the ability of the British to crack the code used by the Germans during World War II which enabled them to read virtually every communication the German armed forces sent out or received.

    In reality this is the same thing with more powerful tools, by several orders of magnitude, used to crack a cypher or inject one.

    Instead of the messages being sent across the airwaves or signal flags from the masts of men-o-war sailing ships or whatever now the transmission and reception is occurring over the Internet.

    Yes, it's easier to assume someones identity today but its never been impossible. Far from it. Yes, it appears easier to intercept or disrupt messaging (signals) though that's gone on for, well, millennia. Yes, it appears to be easier to crack a cypher code used by governments and industry but that's gone on virtually forever too.

    Using the term "cyber" merely hides the fact that this is just an extension of government and private espionage which has also gone on for, well, forever.

    It does make a nice way to stir up alarm though. It makes an even better way for different departments of government to go to bureaucratic war with one another over who will get all the money they hope will come in and then take little or no responsibility for getting it all wrong or just missing it in the millions and billions of communications (signals) send across the Internet daily.

    Personally, being of a cynical bent and having studied governments throughout history, I rather suspect this has more to do with eroding civil rights of citizens while hoarding power that it does much else.

    In the end, sadly, it won't make anyone "safer" in the sense of stopping another terror attack on North America. The reality is that almost all of them have been home grown from the FLQ here in Canada to the Oklahoma City bombing in the United States. The notable exception is 9/11. But this would have missed that one, too.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 11:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You may not say it, but I will. All cyber-crime is crime. The "cyber" part is just a description telling people that it happened online. The problem arises when people think that adding the "cyber" part makes it some magical thing that must be punished even harsher then if it happened on the street or it needs special cyber-laws.

    I'm trying to think of a crime that's online exclusive, but I can't. Even hacking has been around for years before computers (as odd as that sounds). I'm sure at least one has been created, but just because it's online should not be an excuse to burn someone at the stake.

     

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    M.C., Nov 10th, 2010 @ 11:18am

    Cyber-hyphenation

    Go on and read some doctrine. I mean interdisciplinary ones. Start by searching something related to CYBER-netics, and then to CYBER-crimes. There's a reason why the preffix is used.

    Of course, the use of CYBER-hyphenation on its lato sensu meaning can be considered awful, but technically, yes there is a CYBER-category of crime.

    The (mis)use of CYBER preffix has already been attacked by Stephen Pfohl, a long time ago. So what you're saying in this article is no big news. At all.

    Here is the link: http://www.ctheory.net/text_file.asp?pick=86

     

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    interval (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 1:18pm

    Re: Re:

    You made a point, and I illustrated that is was flawed, nothing circular about it.

     

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    interval (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 1:26pm

    Re:

    "...we as a warrior society..."
    and
    "...I have never lived in a time of peace."

    Join the club, and the united states doesn't have a copyright on war. Do you know how many days of peace the world has experienced since the birth of Christ? None. ZERO. The US has only been around for a little over 3% of that time.

    "We always act so surprised when we are attacked. Yet we always have an enemy. If you have enemies you get attacked. Duh!"

    Right or wrong we have had a dominant place in the world for the last 60 years, and the top dog is always seen as the "problem". I'm curious to know how the world would be vastly improved by a change in that status, which is coming. The rise of China shall surely change the balance of power. This is a government that killed over 2000 of its young people over opposition to its internal policies a little over 20 years ago. Would the world be vastly improved with a dominant China?

     

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    Cipher-0, Nov 10th, 2010 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Re:

    Do you know how many days of peace the world has experienced since the birth of Christ? None. ZERO.
    I have read (I forget where and have been unable to confirm it) that there have been a total of 22 days without battle on the planet since the end of World War II. All of these occurred in September 1945.

     

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    maxnicks (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 3:21pm

    This internet thing is just a fad anyway. Quit worrying, it'll be gone soon.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 10th, 2010 @ 3:29pm

    Mike, i agree with you most of the time, but not abouy cyberwarfare. There is a legal need for redundant government agencies to combat computer network attack, depending on the type of operation and source of attack. You need one organization to deal with domestic computer network attack (fbi), one to attack foreign computer systems (dod), and one to do computer/electronic espionage (nsa). This is due to titles 10, 18, and 50 of the us code. Yes it is arguably a waste of money, but separation of power is also a very good thing.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 10th, 2010 @ 3:37pm

    Re:

    Sorry, the point im making is: agencies grabbing money to deal with cna/cne/cnd is not wasted, but completely logical and justified in the current beurocracy.

    Also, the apparent "lack" of cyberwarfare isn't because it doesn't exist, but most likely because everything is classified.

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 7:16pm

    Re:

    Actually in this case it is very much correct in all western countries.

    The use of the Prefix "cyber" in conjunction with Criminal and/or Civil Tort based usage is now very much a way for Governments to spend big on things they should be spending monies on anyway. The problem being that as soon as you place the cyber prefix on the words those monies get jacked up by the companies supplying equipment and/or expertise by at least 300% or more .

    How do I personally know this? Easy, I am myself a Digital Forensic Investigator in both Criminal and Civil areas. Just last month some beauracrat suggested to me that instead of saying Digital I (and my company) should say "CyberForensics" instead WTF!

    Also for years when people asked what I did for a living their normal response was "Oh you catch hackers?" [can you hear my sigh]. Now it is more "Oh you deal in cybercrime"

    My normal response now is "no I investigate evidence of alleged crimes, cybercrime though sounds interesting since that would mean a computer is the entity commiting a criminal offence. Cool!"

    People, the media, and governments use the word cyber for their own purposes. Criminal and other unlawful (Civil) actions are the same no matter if done face to face or via using the latest greatest technology. The evidence is presented in the same way and the convictions and/or payouts are hopefully (though that is a matter for another contentious post) handed out in the same manner no matter what.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Nov 10th, 2010 @ 7:32pm

    Re:

    > > something called the "internet" which facilitates many crimes which were not feasible 20 years ago

    Like what perhaps
    Negligence? Fraud? Stalking (just another form of trespass of person)? Defamation? Invasion of privacy? Abuse of process? Forfeiture of Contract? Passing off? Damage of property? Conversion? Vicarious Liability? Malpractice? Interference? Conspiracy? Treason? Sedition?

    All these laws have been around for centuries in one form or another. There is really nothing new under the sun in regards to criminal behaviour nor Tortuous behaviour with regards to the internet (nor in fact to any new technology).

    Just because they occur via the internet does not mean anything different, though it's good to know that the fear and prejudice of "something new" is still going strong in 2010.

    How these torts/laws are applied jurisdictionally is another matter entirely though

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    icon
    John Alvarado (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 2:36pm

    Cyber vs. On-line

    It seems "cyber" is used mainly when the activity is considered nefarious or immoral, such as cyber-crime, cyber-sex or cyber-stalking. People don't say I'm cyber-shopping, cyber-gaming or cyber-dating. They say on-line shopping, online-gaming and online-dating.

    Is it just the sinister/sexy sound of the sibilant first syllable that recommends that usage?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    icon
    John Alvarado (profile), Nov 11th, 2010 @ 2:39pm

    Cyber vs. On-line

    It seems "cyber" is used mainly when the activity is considered nefarious or immoral, such as cyber-crime, cyber-sex or cyber-stalking. People don't say I'm cyber-shopping, cyber-gaming or cyber-dating. They say on-line shopping, online-gaming and online-dating.

    Is it just the sinister/sexy sound of the sibilant first syllable that recommends that usage?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2010 @ 12:58am

    Is it just the sinister/sexy sound of the sibilant first syllable that recommends that usage?
    That and the image behind it - the "hacker" image as I mentioned before. "Cyber-shopping" would probably conjure an image of something just a bit dodgy. It occurs to me since one of the posts also reminded me of the origin of the word as well as it's current usage that it also has vague historic connotations of "doing strange things with people" (Cybernetics - another discipline largely mis-understood and ripe for FUD).

    Actually it also reminded me that "fear of cyber" isn't new. When Steve Jackson games was working on the RPG CyberPunk many manh years ago, I recall the FBI raided their offices and carted off all the source material because of the "Hacking" and "Cyber Espionage" type stuff it referred to.

    Whatever "legitimate" classification exists in the word to describe "where" an event happened, it's certainly not the usage intended by politicians referring to "cyber-crime" or "cyber-warfare".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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