chapter  1
Technology and cybercrime
Pages 29

Technology has become an integral part of our everyday lives. It has been over 30 years since Pac-Man (1980) made its big splash in arcades, and middle-class families were bringing home the Commodore 64 (1982) and Apple IIC (1984) personal computers. Today, the technological landscape is littered with devices of all shapes, sizes, and utilities, including mobile phones, tablet computers, iPads, Kindles, MP3 players, smart watches, and peripheral devices that track daily activities. Most of these devices can either be connected to the Internet via wireless network or share data via Bluetooth to an Internet-enabled device. In addition, televisions, appliances, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning), and even automobiles, are now Internet enabled, creating the Internet of Things. In a relatively short period of time, our relationship with technology has transformed from being infrequent and one of convenience to an omnipresent necessity in almost all of our lives. These changes have dramatically affected the nature of crime and deviance

in the modern world, giving rise to cybercrimes, or offenses enabled by technology. The criminological scholarship regarding technology and offending has expanded substantially over the last two decades, incorporating a range of both qualitative and quantitative methods and theories to account for victimization and offending. The findings demonstrate that cybercrime is a complex and diverse problem, though the nature of studies and methods make it difficult to truly assess the totality of the field. To understand the state of the field, a roadmap is necessary to identify not

only what we know, but how to improve our knowledge of the causes of cybercrime, and how best to investigate and prevent these offenses. The

purpose of this work is to present a roadmap of the current state of the field, as it is a body of research in progress, taking shape in part from the technologies that affect our lives. We intend this book to spark a debate on how best to move our understanding of cybercrime forward. We provide summaries of the literature as well as research questions that we believe are necessary to better identify the causes of and responses to cybercrime. The specific areas that we have chosen to cover in this book include: how we as a field have studied cybercrime and how to improve our knowledge (Chapter 2); the theoretical causes of a variety of cybercrimes and the gaps that still exist (Chapter 3); the capabilities of law enforcement and government agencies to respond to cybercrime and how to improve this response (Chapter 4); the implications of using a situational crime prevention framework to better understand how to decrease cybercrime victimization (Chapter 5); and the future of cybercrime, including trends and the impact that technology may have on these developments (Chapter 6). Throughout the book, we do not mean for our comments to be the final word on any issue or research question. Rather, it is a crucial starting point based on our summary of the literature, demonstrating gaps in our knowledge, and how we may best move the field forward. In this chapter, we introduce the reader to the ways that technology has:

(1) evolved over time; (2) affected all components of society and human behavior; and (3) created new forms of crime while also modifying old forms. The chapter provides clear descriptions of cybercrime and cyber-deviance using Wall’s (2001) classic typology of cybercrime. This discussion provides definitions, explanations, and examples of each type. The chapter also illustrates that while technology has caused further dangers in the forms of new and modified crimes, it also has provided benefits and challenges for law enforcement as a result of new techniques and forms of evidence to investigate crimes. The chapter concludes with a discussion of what “policing” looks like in this new digital age, including which agencies are primarily responsible for investigating these crimes and how their roles have evolved due to these new technologies.