Saturday, 5 November 2011

The case for cyber criminology

Dr. Jaishankar, an Indian academic criminologist, is the founder and editor of the open access International Journal of Cyber Criminology. In his latest editorial, Jaishankar pleads the case for an "holistic" approach to the study of cybercrime.

Presently, e-crime seems mostly to be studied, or at least taught, from a 'crime science' perspective. Cybercrime thus seems largely to be understood as a technological phenomenon, rather than a social one. Courses like Murray's and Wall's are rare, exploring both the forensic and the socio-legal aspects of information technology, across several jurisdictions.

One of Jaishankar's contributions to the emergent field of cybercriminology is his "Space Transition" theory of cybercrime, which argues that people behave differently as they move between offline and online 'spaces'. As I pointed out in my previous post, unless the effect of convergence and the deepening pervasion (/ mediation / augmentation) of everyday life by networked technologies is also met with effective normative regulation of online spaces, cyberanomie may prevail.

If this regulation is to be effective in this dynamic new space, it must be evidence-based and research-led. Jaishankar cites a study noting that cybercriminological research, as an emergent discipline, has its fair share of methodological problems to overcome. It is my sincere hope that aspiring cybercriminologists will be increasingly well-received by 'traditional' criminology departments (and those who fund them), so as to nurture a high-quality and interdisciplinary approach to the causes and consequences of cybercrime.

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