Creation of the internet has resulted in numerous advantages to businesses individuals and government agencies by improving communication and transfer of information. However, it also has several vices that have been experienced in these sectors. The law enforcement agencies have been charged with handling these crimes.
Law enforcement agencies are charged with handling all crimes including cyber-crimes. However, this crime is of its own kind hence they face a number of challenges in dealing particularly with exploitation, cyber stalking and obscenity. The greatest challenge is the power of anonymity. This is a phenomenon inherent in the internet where the users of the internet remain anonymous. The privacy of internet users is offered through anonymity, users are not mandated to use real names and credentials for security purposes. This is a positive aspect as it safeguards innocent users but at the same time concealing crime perpetrators. In this case, the perpetrator of a crime can be anywhere; within the same state, same room or even next door. Additionally, the perpetrator could be anyone including those closest to you.
Furthermore, internet access points such as cyber cafes all over the country are used anonymously; therefore it is difficult to trace a crime to the perpetrator. This greatly hinders the law enforcement agencies in trying to carry out investigations. It is difficult to identify the criminals since all users of the internet are anonymous. The computers can be identified in the internet through the IP addresses and domain names, but the users cannot be traced.
Secondly, jurisdiction is another significant challenge that law enforcers face in trying to investigate cyber-crimes. The internet is essentially a worldwide web without a clearly defined jurisdiction. Consequently, crimes perpetrated through the internet are difficult to investigate. This is mainly attributed to the multiple users across the globes that are virtually connected to one another. Therefore, a crime can be perpetrated from a remote area and affect someone that is miles away. Investigating such a crime is almost impossible and resource consuming. These challenges are a substantial obstacle to investigation and possible apprehending of perpetrators.
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The challenge with overlapping of jurisdictions mainly affects the ability of the law enforcing agency to investigate crimes and apprehend the perpetrators. The challenges range from lack of proper expertise, lack of cooperation and inability to handle investigations in different jurisdictions.
Some government agencies and institutions charged with handling crime have no proper training on cyber stalking and therefore, cannot adequately handle the investigations. Some of the security departments are not staffed with qualified personnel and equipment to investigate these crimes.
Some of these jurisdictional limitations have vastly frustrated some of the law enforcing agencies particularly when the perpetrator is located in another state or city. This makes it difficult for a local authority to investigate a crime. To some local agencies, a crime such as e-mail harassment may not seem trivial hence they may offer less support to the law enforcing agencies. Without local support, the cases may be referred to other federal agencies which may take long to investigate .
These problems can be addressed by training staff at the local law enforcement agencies in order to improve investigation capacity. It is also beneficial to provide a framework for addressing cyber-crimes by local agencies. Most importantly, it is paramount that status should be enacted to curb the vice. The statutes should be streamlined into all the states in order to ensure no statutory limitations in law enforcement .
Given the volatile, anonymous, non-jurisdictional and global nature of cyber-crimes, it is necessary to have a common ground in terms of law enforcement to allow efficient and effective investigations. Additionally, cyber-crimes are perpetrated through the internet which is global; therefore it is logical to ensure cooperation among different states, cities and countries.
States should have the ability to work, with other states, to address cyber-crimes perpetrated across states lines. The states should have similar statutes that are used to address cyber-crime. This essentially creates an even ground that does not allow criminals to find a breeding ground for carrying out the crimes. This ensures that cyber-crimes are viewed as a global crime and should be addressed universally.
Cooperation among states also enhances investigations of cyber-crimes. The perpetrators can easily be apprehended if there is cooperation among the different states. It is necessary to note that the foremost reason why cyber-crimes have so far been poorly addressed is due to lack of effective cooperation that can allow fruitful investigations.
An efficient and effective way of enhancing this cooperation is through a proper and clear statutory framework that allows states to collectively address cyber-crime. Additionally, the states should be equipped to assist in investigations and offer information on cyber-crimes to other states.
Goldsmith, J. L., & Wu, T. (2006). Who controls the Internet?: illusions of a borderless world. New York: Oxford University Press.
Speer, D. L. (2000). Redefining borders: The challenges of cybercrime. Crime, law and social change, 259-273.
USA. gov. (2014). US Attonies on Cyber Crime. Retrieved May 25, 2014, from USA. gov: http://www. justice. gov/usao/briefing_room/cc/
Zheng, R., Qin, Y., Huang, Z., & Chen, H. (2003). Authorship analysis in cybercrime investigation. In Intelligence and Security Informatics, 59-61.