Technology could be "aggravating" factor in sentencing

Existing criminal offences which feature the use of computers could be treated in the same way as offences involving driving suggest researchers.

Like the car or gun, technology enables existing crimes to be committed more easily.

The report Understanding and measuring their future activity is by Claire Hargreaves and Dr Daniel Prince of Security Lancaster, an EPSRC-GCHQ Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research at Lancaster University.

They suggest distinguishing between two types of cybercrime: computer enabled and computer dependent.

Computer enabled crime is a traditional crime facilitated by technology – like online fraud.

Computer dependent crime is a crime which could not exist without new technology -  like , which attempts to acquire bank details through email  by purporting to be from a legitimate organisation.

The authors suggest an alternative to new legislation to handle computer enabled crime.

"Instead, new sentencing guidelines could be developed for existing criminal offences where technology is seen as an aggravating or reducing factor in the commissioning of the ."

They say there needs to be a "step change" in our understanding of cybercrime, with more information needed about the victims.

"Through a victim information database researchers can investigate the characteristics of the victims to develop our understanding of who they are and determine if specific groups of people are more vulnerable to cyber-attacks and if so the reasons why.

"Following this information the common characteristics of the victims can be identified. For example, it may become apparent that the majority of victims were of the age 25 to 30, if this is the case preventative methods, such as educating them on how to stay safe online, could be targeted at this group."

"Factors associated to cybercriminals can be identified allowing us to answer such questions as, do cyber criminals have common demographic characteristics? "

Security Lancaster brings together Lancaster University's research in , transport and infrastructure, futures, violence and society and investigative expertise.

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Jul 23, 2013
Crimes involving 'force multipliers' (i.e. objects that allow for a more damage done given a constant crimial energy of the perpetrator) should be punished more severely.

Sentencing should always reflect:

- Criminal energy invested (tools used or not, etc.)
- Punishment for the actual amount of damage done
- Punishment for the INTENDED amount of damage done (which is a bit iffy, but if someone tries to rob a bank and doesn't manage to open the vault and has to leave with 20 bucks lying on the till then that's still different from someone trying to steal 20 bucks lying on someone's window sill. Similarly if someone forges one credit card it's different than if someone is trying to break into the central credit card servers using a computer)
- The chance of reintegration/rehabilitation of the criminal
- Protecting society from the criminal/repeat offenses
- (Signal character to other likeminded individuals. Though that seems not to be an effective tool for education)

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