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Cybercrime Law and Regulation

Cybercrime Law and Regulation

This is part two of a sample essay on cybercrime in the United States. Please continue reading below for part two of this excellent writing sample.
Cybercrime in the United States is a fascinating and complicated field. There is a fundamental disconnect between crimes committed in cyberspace and their physical counterparts, and unfortunately most of modern law enforcement is based on solving physical crimes. This paper discusses modern efforts at passing legislation aimed at controlling the inherent dangers of the Internet. Please visit the nursingggeks.com homepage for all of your academic content solution needs, as our writing services simply can’t be beat.

Cybercrime Law and Regulation

The current legislation in place regarding cybercrime prevention is ineffective and subject to superiority by the attacker(s). For instance, the most prominent example of this is on the government level in the Iraq War. Brennan (2012) gave numerous anecdotes where he compared the standard protocol for running defensive maneuvers in cybercrime versus the tangible world: in effect, getting authorization to drop bombs on villages based on speculation requires little due process while any manipulation of enemy computer networks requires direct permission from the Secretary of Defense. Clearly, there is a serious flaw when it comes to evaluating the risk/reward ratio of using cyber technology to protect the country. There were also many other examples cited by Brennan where potential threats could have been avoided if the government allowed the military more flexibility in terms of using social media, foreign computer networks and resources to protect the country (Brennan, 2012). The current legislation in place for fighting cybercrime and using it as a tool makes it a slow and ineffective process.

Inherent Dangers of the Internet

Current legislation doesn’t take into account the inherent dangers of the internet and the ability of attackers to exploit it easily. The internet is vulnerable by design and a breeding ground for exploitation. According to Provos (2009), “unfortunately, the root cause that allows the Web to be leveraged for malware delivery is an inherent lack of security in its design” (Provos, 2009, p. 6). That is, it was not designed with security and potential abuse in mind. Not only that, but cyber criminals constantly differentiate and adapt their malicious tactics in order to circumvent security efforts:
As a result, academia and industry alike developed effective ways to fortify the network perimeter against such attacks. Unfortunately, the attackers similarly changed tactics, moving away from noisy scanning and concentrating more on stealthy attacks. (Provos, 2009, p. 2)
If the competitive landscape for cyber activity is dynamic, then laws should be dynamic as well. However, legislation that the U.S. uses is ineffective because it does not change and surely doesn’t have the leverage to make a true impact before the damage is done.

DMCA is Ineffective

For instance, while the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 intended to protect various industries from online privacy and intellectual property theft, it has been ineffective. The music industry was effectively crippled by the likes of companies like Napster and other peer to peer file sharing sites. These applications allowed criminals to steal billions of dollars’ worth of intellectual property from various industries, including publishing, movie production and music. The DMCA did nothing but assign guidelines that would be broken because of a lack of enforcement and administrative execution (U.S. Copyright Office). Even for companies like Napster that were shut down, the damage had been done by then so it was a moot point. If anything, the DMCA has protected some online piracy sites by expunging them of blame for the actions of their third party users (U.S. Copyright Office).

SOPAs Failure to Pass Legislation

Even when promising legislation like the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was up for approval, it did not get passed. The 2011 SOPA initiative sought to protect digital property industries like Hollywood by making clear, meaningful laws that would enable them to take more direct legal action (SOPA, 2011). However, even if it had passed, the legislation did not clearly address the international scope of the problem due to its ambiguous nature:
Using existing resources, all training and technical assistance provided by intellectual property attaches appointed under subsection (b), or under other authority, relating to intellectual property enforcement and protection abroad shall be designed to be consistent with the policy and country-specific priorities set forth in the most recent report of USTR under section 182(a) of the Trade Act of 1974. (SOPA, 2011, p. 75)
As interpreted above, exceptions would be made for the laws of different nations where the U.S. may not have a physical presence. While policing international cybercrime is surely a daunting challenge in terms of a comprehensive policy framework, SOPA did not do much to establish a new precedent for the problem.

National Security

Finally, rapid and effective legislation is needed because of the fact that national security and the lives of millions of Americans can be saved. As international terrorist groups heavily utilize cyber technology to aid their evil endeavors, the U.S. has been merely playing “catch-up.” For instance, Brennan (2012) cited numerous concerns over the efficacy of the U.S. cyber strategy for combating terrorist attack related activities. Such activity has only deepened the need for stronger legislation and intervention: “as Al-Qa’ida and its affiliates and adherents have evolved into much more technically savvy terrorist organizations, their ability to threaten U. S. National Security has likewise increased” (Brennan, 2012, p.1). The impending danger towards American citizens also reflects the use of underground and digital markets for exchanging goods such as weapons and collaborating on malicious plans. Kanich et al (2011) reported that there are many instances of illegal commerce taking place without regulation or oversight of any kind.

Conclusion

As we have seen, the U.S. has posited several solutions to the cybersecurity problem that the country and world is facing. However, current legislation has not been effective in adequately measuring or preventing instances of cyberterrorism, fraud, theft and illegal activity. The most robust solution is rapid legislation that gives the government more leverage to control things. While we think of cybercrimes in the context of the 21st century and the internet, the first documented case of a cybercrime was in 1820. After that, there have been many other historical cases where the internet and technological infrastructure has been heavily compromised. AT&T and major financial institutions are early case studies that exemplify the severity of the attacks. Since the 1980’s, more and more pressure has been placed on nations, individuals and companies to adequately protect themselves. Ultimately, the U.S. government is responsible for passing legislation that will mitigate the problem. Private companies suffer losses from cybercrimes but are apprehensive to support legislation as it may impede on other rights that they value for making profit.
Mainly, the need for rapid legislation stems from the failure of the current system we have. For example, much of the efforts to mitigate cyber threats have been reactive rather than proactive. The military is just one example where U.S. efforts to combat terror have been compromised through inadequate regulatory policies (Brennan, 2012). As far as consumers and citizens are concerned, Provos (2009) argued that there is very little realization and understanding of the problem when it comes to managing our digital lives; people are more susceptible than they think. Next, the government cannot effectively manage cybercrimes because there are no adequate measurement techniques in place. Kanich (2011) and colleagues cited how even studying cybercrime is a daunting task without the necessary data. This is doubly true for real world applications such as defending critical digital infrastructure.
Slow response time to cyber threats were also cited as being a major reason for quicker government intervention. The military is another example where certain uses of cyber technology required administrative approval from the Secretary of Defense. This has proved to be ineffective and impractical for using technology to combat cyber terror. The inherent dangers of the internet were regarded as a key reason why the current legislation we have is inadequate. Industries that produce digital goods have been under attack for many years and policies like the DMCA and SOPA have not done much to fix the problem before long-term damage was done. Finally, national security was cited as a key reason that the government needs to focus on addressing the cyber threat quickly. As terrorists use technological means to commit murder and actions against innocent people, the U.S. must be more prepared.

References

Brennan, J. (2012). United States Counter Terrorism Cyber Law and Policy, Enabling or Disabling? USAWC Civilian Research Project , 1, 1-22.
CS&C. (2012). Office of Cybersecurity and Communications | Department of Homeland Security. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved April 22, 2013, from www.dhs.gov/office-cybersecurity-and-communications
Caulfield, B. (2011, February 14). Life After Facebook – Forbes.com. Information for the World’s Business Leaders – Forbes.com. Retrieved April 25, 2013, from http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2011/0214/features-peter-thiel-social-media-life-after-facebook.html
Etzioni, A. (2011). Cybersecurity in the  Private Sector. Issues in Science and Technology, Fall, 58-63.
Kanich, C., Chachra, N., & McCoy, D. (2011). No Plan Survives Contact: Experience with Cybercrime Measurement. CSET ’11: Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Cyber Security Experimentation and Test, August, 1-8.
Ngo, F., & Paternoster, R. (2011). Cybercrime Victimization: An examination of Individual and Situational level factors. International Journal of Cyber Criminology, 5(1), 773-793.
Provos, N., Rajab, M., & Mavrommatis, P. (2009). Cybercrime 2.0: When the Cloud Turns Dark. Association for Computer Machinery, 7(2), 1-8.
U.S. Copyright Office. (1998, December 1). THE DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT OF 1998. U.S. Copyright Office Summary. Retrieved April 26, 2013, from www.copyright.gov/legislation/dmca.pdf
SOPA – U.S. House of Representatives. (2011, October 26). Stop Online Piracy Act. Judiciary Hearings Online. Retrieved April 24, 2013, from judiciary.house.gov/hearings/pdf/112%20HR%203261.pdf

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