E-crime legal resources for boardroom business

Electronic crime (or e-crime, computer crime, netcrime, cybercrime etc.) has many definitions and disguises. But essentially these all concern criminal (or terrorist) offences planned or committed using computer systems and networks. Sometimes criminal activity is carried out against the systems and networks themselves.

E-crime can threaten a nation's security and financial health as well as harm organisations and people. Issues surrounding this type of crime have become high-profile, particularly those about hackingcopyright infringementchild pornography, and child grooming. There are also problems of privacy when confidential information is lost or intercepted, lawfully or otherwise.

In recent times, we've also seen an increased number of legal cases concerning harm done to the reputation of the victim or cause physical or mental harm to the victim directly or indirectly, using modern telecommunication networks such as Internet (Chat rooms, emails, notice boards and groups).

Commercial organisations have their own role to play in protecting their valuable assets, for example business-critical data and information, intellectual property, employees, etc. from e-crime attacks. This is where a resilience and security strategy is required that also includes a business continuity plan.

online businessInternational dimension

Internationally, both governmental and non-state actors engage in e-crime, including espionagefinancial theft, and other cross-border crimes, including cyber terrorism. Activity crossing international borders and involving the interests of at least one nation state is sometimes referred to as cyber warfare.

The international legal system is attempting to hold actors accountable for their actions through the International Criminal Court.

The security of both IT infrastructure and business information is critical to maintaining user trust and confidence. Yet security still tends to be viewed as a technical matter rather than a mainstream business issue. Network and information security also consists to a large extent of human behaviour and our knowledge of threats and remedies. Network and Information Security concerns a number of policy fields such as privacy, industrial policy, international trade, citizens' rights, law enforcement, defence.

Solutions must be found through international co-operation. Many countries have signed up to the Convention on Cyber Crime that sets out the framework for international co-operation on e-crime.


IT LawEU Digital Agenda

Pillar III: Trust and Security

According to the European Commission, only 12% of European web users feel completely safe making online transactions. Threats such as malicious software and online fraud unsettle consumers and dog efforts to promote the online economy. The EU's Digital Agenda proposes a number of practical solutions, including a coordinated European response to cyber-attacks and reinforced rules on personal data protection.


ENISA (European Network and Information Security Agency) was set up to enhance the capability of the European Union, the EU Member States and the business community to prevent, address and respond to network and information security problems.

In order to achieve this goal, ENISA is a Centre of Expertise in Network and Information Security and is stimulating the cooperation between the public and private sectors. As such, the Agency is a 'pace-setter'.


UK ITUnited Kingdom

E-crime risks (including the internet, wider telecommunications networks and computer systems) have been identified by the Government as a high priority risk. The UK is facing an ongoing, persistent threat from other states, terrorists and criminals operating in cyberspace.

In less than 16 years the number of global web users has exploded from 16 million in 1995 to more than 2 billion today. UK shoppers spent £5.2 billion online during August 2011 – up 14% on the previous year, and cyber-crime has been estimated in the billions per year globally, with untold human cost.

But imagine if a cyber attack brought down government IT systems, for example defence, revenue and customs or pensions and benefits. Like many governments, the UK is implementing a cyber security strategy to protect the value the UK's puts in cyberspace. The policy is driven right across government led by the Cabinet Office with executive support from the Home Office and its enforcement agencies .

Criminal Offences

Criminal or terrorist activities can include illegal access (unauthorized access), illegal interception (by technical means of non-public transmissions of computer data to, from or within a computer system), data interference (unauthorized damaging, deletion, deterioration, alteration or suppression of computer data), systems interference (interfering with the functioning of a computer system by inputting, transmitting, damaging, deleting, deteriorating, altering or suppressing computer data), misuse of devices, forgery (ID theft), and electronic fraud.

E-crime can also include traditional crimes, such as fraud, theft, blackmail, forgery, and embezzlement, in which computers or networks are used for illegal activity.

The Crown Prosecution Service is responsible for bringing criminal prosecutions to court in England and Wales; the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal in Scotland and the Public Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland.

E-crime articles on E RADAR