In today’s digital age, the internet and cyberspace are rapidly expanding, providing numerous benefits to society. However, with these technological advancements come a new set of challenges such as cyber crimes. Cyber crimes come in different forms such as hacking, phishing, identity theft, malware attacks, cyber terrorism, and many others. The criminal justice system, which consists of jurisdictional courts, prosecutors and defense lawyers, law enforcing officers, and agencies detaining and supervising offenders, is facing monumental challenges dealing with cyber crime.
Jurisdictional issues arise in cases where the cyber criminal is from a different country, thereby complicating investigations and making it challenging to apprehend the accused promptly. Furthermore, the nature of cyber crimes is intangible, which makes it difficult to provide evidence to prove the guilt of the accused. Many times the traces of a crime are proficiently eradicated by the criminal using sophisticated tools and techniques. Consequently, such situations pose a great challenge for the concerned jurisdictional system to solve the case.
In India, cyber crimes are primarily covered and regulated by two enforced laws, namely the Information and Technology Act, 2000, and the Indian Penal Code, 1860. However, these laws require amendments as cyber crimes continue to evolve and become more sophisticated daily.
The Impact of Cyber Crimes on the Criminal Justice System Globally
According to the State of Cybersecurity Resilience 2021 report by Accenture, security attacks have increased by 31% from 2020 to 2021. The number of attacks per company has increased from 206 to 270 year on year. The number of attacks against companies affects individuals because most of them store sensitive data and personal information from customers. In companies, cyber attacks are usually done with the assistance of insiders.
To mitigate cyber crimes, UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) provides specialised expertise and technical assistance in capacity building, prevention and awareness raising, international cooperation, data collection and research, and analysis on cyber crime. However, the current legal framework needs to change to keep up with the ever-changing cyber world that poses a threat to individuals, businesses, and countries’ national security.
Effects of Cyber Crimes on the Criminal Justice System
Causing Difficulty in Investigation
The advent of technology has made cyber crimes difficult to trace and investigate. The modus operandi (MO) of cyberspace criminals is through the use of technologies that enable them to change their locations and identifications. As a result, it becomes almost impossible to trace their activities, making it difficult to apprehend the culprits. Furthermore, cyber criminals easily communicate with other transnational syndicates, forming a strong alliance that is hard to trace and block. Such complications hinder the trial procedure, and this poses a challenge for police and prosecutors to conduct adequate, complete, and timely investigations.
Lack of Resources
Many countries lack sufficient resources to track and find cyber criminals. This helps offenders to continue with their activities without any fear, thereby breaching people’s privacy, robbing banks, hacking mobile phones, computers, and many others. Additionally, high-tech technologies are required to track and detect the source computer from which cyber crimes are committed.
Governing Laws of the Countries
The laws that were drafted before the internet age needs to be reformed and evolved according to the current society’s needs. Therefore, it is essential to bring amendments in the old Acts and make laws that include cyber crimes and their punishments. The first international treaty on cybercrime was the “Budapest Convention” on Internet and computer-related crimes, adopted in 2001, ratified by more than sixty countries globally.
In conclusion, cyber crimes pose a considerable threat to individuals, businesses, and countries’ national security. The criminal justice system needs to develop globally advanced technologies to deal with the changing nature of cyber crimes. Furthermore, enforcement agencies and governments need to work together to bring about an international treaty on cybercrime. Such treaties make it possible to apprehend criminals from their hiding places and deter potential offenders from engaging in such crimes. Finally, it is important to note that cyber resilience, which enables businesses to build secure ecosystems and strategies to overcome threats, is one way to mitigate cyber crimes.
What is cybercrime and why is it a growing concern?
Cybercrime involves illegal activities conducted via the internet, such as hacking, identity theft, and malware attacks. Its global surge, sophistication, and anonymity make it a menacing threat to individuals, businesses, and national security.
How do jurisdictional issues complicate cybercrime cases?
When cybercriminals operate from different countries, it’s difficult to pinpoint their location and gather evidence. Jurisdictional issues arise, complicating international cooperation, investigations, and prompt apprehension of the accused.
Are the current laws in India sufficient to tackle cybercrimes?
Though India has the Information Technology Act and Indian Penal Code, these laws need amendments to stay abreast with the evolving nature of cybercrimes, which are becoming more sophisticated daily.
What challenges do investigators face in solving cybercrimes?
Investigators face difficulties in tracing the digital footprints of cybercriminals, who often use advanced technologies to conceal their identities. Additionally, the lack of resources and international cooperation poses significant challenges.
How can the global community combat cybercrime effectively?
Enhancing international collaboration, amending outdated laws, and implementing advanced technologies are crucial. Moreover, organizations like UNODC are vital for capacity building, awareness raising, and data collection in combating cybercrime.