Introduction August Bequai, writing in the preface to an early Council of Europe Recommendation on Computerrelated Crime, 1 suggested that: ‘In the information society, power and wealth are increasingly becoming synonymous with control over our data banks . . . The computer revolution has provided tools with which to steal with impunity, control and manipulate the thoughts and movements of millions, and hold an entire society hostage.’ In his report for the COMCRIME study in 1998, Sieber referred to international computer networks as ‘the nerves of the economy, the public sector and society’, such that any attack or intrusion could have a devastating effect on the functioning of the information society. 2 Sieber underlines the potential for a particular type of abuse of computer systems, but there is now a whole spectrum of activity that may be referred to as ‘computer crime’, ‘computer-related crime’, or now ‘cybercrime’, 3 which began to become apparent as the so-called computer or information revolution progressed. 4 This includes a number of ‘traditional’ crimes that may be facilitated by the use of computer systems, such as: offences of theft, deception, and fraud; offences related to obscenity and indecency; criminal breaches of copyright arising from intentional distribution and commercial exploitation of copyright works; and criminal damage aimed at the computer system itself. The diverse nature of the criminal activities relating to computer use and misuse was later refl ected in the Cybercrime Convention, which made provision for acts based on illegal access, illegal interception, data interference, system interference, misuse of devices, computer-related fraud, computer-related forgery, offences related to child pornography, and offences related to copyright and related rights. That these are different in kind, both from each other and from the ‘new’ offences related to or relying on computer hacking, goes without saying, but together they make up a body that has come to be referred to, however inaccurately, as ‘computer crime’, and which, in varying degrees, has caused problems for the interpretation and development of the law in this area.