Contemporary Perspectives in Criminology Essay Example

  • Category:
  • Document type:
  • Level:
  • Page:
  • Words:

Contemporary perspectives 1


This paper intends to present the impacts and challenges that enhanced information and communication has presented to the criminology world. It explains the fundamental reasons for the proliferation of new criminal activities as a result of technological development. It also explains how the traditional crimes have advanced to a higher level while other new forms of crimes that did not exist before the emergence of technology and especially the internet have increased the rate of crimes.

The argument that this paper presents compares the rate at which the crimes are growing beyond any nations geographical boarders and the ways in which criminology has developed in order to fight these forms of crimes. It also reveals that despite the increased security in the internet, hackers and other criminals easily find new ways of compromising any security measure taken. This paper also presents several criminal activities and different communication channels that increased the rate of criminal activities. This paper draws its foundational arguments from a vast assortment of academic sources in order to provide a well balanced argument and current information related to the criminal world and its dependence of the internet and other forms of information and communication protocols.

Research questions

This research essay aims answering the following question: “How have recent developments in information and communication technologies created new forms of criminality that are able to transcend nation-states?”

Challenges and impacts of advancement in information technology to criminality

Advancement of information and communication technology has been fostered by the ever increasing globalization and the need to create a global village. The growth of information technology cannot be fully explained because of the vastness of different technological advancements developed through a fundamental protocol like the Transmission Controlled Protocol and Internet Protocol that helps the evolution of the internet through its standardization. More than 80 % of the world is connected through this mode of transmission protocol. Because of the development of different internet standards, it has been possible for manufactures to develop different equipments that follow the fundamentals standards and hence enhancing the evolution of information world. Other forms of communication protocols such as wireless communication, VSAT which focuses on the satellites among other forms of communication systems have enhanced the increase of different ways of communicating (Jones 2004).

As described by Maguire & Morgan (2007, p. 45) traditionally it required an individual to be approach the crime scene physically or with a group in order to accomplish the crime. The handling of crimes during those days was much straightforward and evidence has to be collected in the crime scene in order to sue the victim. It was also hard to commit crimes before the emergence of technology and specifically the internet. Criminals have to look for arms and set up a strategy that could take months before its implementation. Such criminals also had to be courageous and be in a position to risk their lives if the activity failed or of they were pursued by armed officers. In essence, the criminal activity was much harder to commit in the pre-technology period but much easier to address.

And now I turn to other options of communication the higher the chances of information dissemination which is the genesis of the ever increasing cases of crimes, in essence the development of information technology has made it simple to commit crimes. This is mainly because for one to commit a crime, he/she no longer needs to be physically present at the crime scene in order to commit the crime. There has been a significant increase in the traditional crimes such as bank robbery through the use of computers to hack into a private internet connection of a bank instead of approaching the bank with powerful arsenal. Technology has made it easy to commit crime as compared to the traditional ways of committing crimes which required more courage and physical presence. The anonymity of cyber crimes has enhanced the proliferations of the act despite the numerous measures that different governments have tried to implement in order to cub the vice. As an example, an organized crime from Russians attempted to intrude into five University systems in California, Arizona, Florida and Texas by use of a software called keystroke recognition (Axelrod 2009, p 260). The planning and execution of transnational crime has shifted from rudimentary communication means such as ordinary mail, telephone to highly sophisticated means such as E-mail and internet satellite (Walsh & Hemmens 2010). This creates both identification and investigation barriers.

Some forms of nuisance but harmful intrusion crimes includes viruses and malwares which are usually a serried of codes developed by individuals with the intention of curtailing the normal functions of a computer through a network or through a portable memory stick. The major source of these harmful viruses and malwares is the internet. Many websites in the internet contain codes that can potentially harm a computer if visited or if the user of a computer intentionally or accidentally clicks any of them. These codes are usually executable and thus act once in a host computer. The programmers of these codes sometimes use these malwares to acquire personal information from a computer. As an example, CISCO reveals using a command line netstat on Ms Dos command line reveals any form of foreign address (website) that illegally carries out information sending to unknown sources. This is one way that a virus is able to extract personal information and send it via the internet. A malware of a virus can alternatively damage or corrupt important files and hence committing a crime on a personal level or on an organizational level. As stated by Axelrod, E (2009, p 260) in May 2001, a student of Louisiana State University was arrested and charged with an offence of sending a virus to his colleague via e-mail.

As indicated by Taylor & Quayle (2003) other crimes related to the increased globalization is increased child pornography, it is painful to note the rate at which immorality has been escalated by the advancement in technology. The growth of technology has made it simple for young people to access pornographic films and photographs. Despite the efforts done by policy makers especially in developing countries like Europe and the US, they have not been able to curb the spread of child related pornographic activities. As an example, the increased use of social media such as twitter and facebook, thousands of young children have been lured by criminals through the unmonitored interactive network like these social Medias. It is not unusual to find these children fast exposed to explicit sexual behaviours at young age as a result of their interactions with distant criminals with bad motives to these children. In most countries, it is illegal to engage children below the age of 18 with any kind of forced labour or sexual acts as they are still pre-mature to make sound and independent decision (Taylor 2003). The UN Convention of Rights of the Child also acknowledges that the right age for children protection against any form of labour and sexual activity is 18. It has however proved to be a major challenge to curb any child related abuse in both developed and developing countries as a result of improved information and communication. In essence it is much easier to lure and innocent child to engage in a sexual act especially with foreigners with lots of money to spend (Axelrod 2009). Developing countries have reported the highest forms of both male and female related abuse especially in vast tourist destination areas. This is mainly attributed to the poor economic levels of these countries which then translate to escalation of child related abuse.

On top of these, other challenge that the development of technology has brought is the ability to commit a crime without any significant hindrance in terms of geographic consideration. A criminal activity can easily transcend nation-states without the criminal incurring any expense, it only takes the criminal a click of a mouse to cause harm to people in distant places (Muncie & Wilson 2004). This activity is commonly known as hacking and it is one of the common cybercrimes that has been enhanced by the development of technology. Hacking is actually an illegal intrusion of a computer network with ill intentions. People committing these crimes usually require computer programming and networking skills in order to be in a position to commit the crime. Hacking varies in terms of complexity depending on the level of expertise of the hacker and the level of security that the network that is intended to be hacked is structured. Since there are mainly two types of networks, namely: the wired and the wireless network. The wired network is significantly harder to break or to intrude mainly because of the transmission channel used. The transmission channels used in a wired network is usually cables through cable connection into a network which is usually implemented through a device that enables local connection. This makes it harder for an intruder to hack into the network since he/she has to be physically present in the area covered by the network. On the other hand, wireless network uses the air as the medium of transport and hence much easier to sniff the network if the hacker has the necessary tools (Jewkes 2010). Eavesdropping and WEP decryption are common hacking tactics used by hackers to compromise a wireless network.

As noted above, both cabled network and the cable less network can be easily compromised by professional hackers’ situated anywhere in the world without their physical presence in the crime scene. The emergence of internet related hacking has forced policy makers in the field of criminology to explore better ways of improving internet security and improved ways of bringing the criminals to justice. Since the traditional ways of enhancing justice required a physical scene of crime and evidence from the scene of crime. The whole concept has however changed because of the change of ways of committing crimes. For instance, it is not possible not possible to identify the crime scene in a case of cyber crime. It is even harder to identify the source and the individual committing a cyber crime. This has not only escalated the rate of crimes against people but also against governments (Levete 2009). For instance, the United States has a specialized department meant to combat any digital attack to its network. With every increase in security protocol there is always an increased level of committing crime. In practical sense the hackers are usually a step ahead of their counter policy makers. Policy makers in the field of criminology have also been forced to device better ways of addressing crime scene related problems. In digital network one cannot pin-point a crime scene and uses it as evidence to sue a criminal.

Because of the challenges presented by the digital network, computer forensics has developed in order to solve any computer related crime. There are both hardware and software equipments that can recover any data left in the crime scene or used to commit a crime. These equipments are usually used to recover data and create a crime scene which is usually physical in case of a traditional crime situation. According to Boba (2005) the professional in this is field are thus required to recover all the evidence, link the evidence to the crime and follow all the necessary regulations stipulated in order to increase the authenticity of the information that they have acquired in their course of ensuring that justice is done. Once the data has been recovered using several preferred combination of software and hardware equipments, the evidence can then be presented in any court of law as evidence to commence a case. This is usually as procedure done when an organization of a given physical location computers were used to commit crime (Paulus & Reimer 2005). This is important in determining geographical location in which the communication process occurred. This is also usually applicable in a case that transcends nation states such as a terrorist communication.

It is therefore obvious that the world is going to suffer as along as these crimes continue to grow as the globalization continues. The rate of crimes is also going to climb without being reported as a result and thus increasing human sacrifice. Other parts of the world which have experienced minimal rate of crime are also going to be affected with criminal activities considering that the criminal do not need their physical presence but rather their network presence in order to commit crime (Levete 2009). Statistical findings on the trend of crimes are also going to be inaccurate because of the many offences that go without being reported. The time it takes to commit a crime is less and thus leading to multiple criminal activities in different corners of the world which go unnoticed and unrecorded. Policy makers and the justice system all over the world is already having challenges related to mitigating crimes and finding ways of collecting digital evidence in order to institute a criminal proceeding.


This analysis has revealed how technology has escalated criminal activities that transcend nation’s states. Some of the criminal activities discussed include email and personal information hacking, bank system compromise via a network. Wired and wireless network intrusion and increased cases of child pornography especially in developing countries. Governments and policy makers are therefore facing challenges of curbing increased rate of criminal activities through counter measures. They are continuously working on better ways of finding digital evidence and bringing the criminals to justice. Their efforts have been continuously hampered by the fast developing world of crime.

The final conclusion based on this research reveals that the rate of crime is highly likely to find new ways of exploiting technological loopholes despite the ever increasing computer forensics. This conclusion justifies the arguments presented in this essay and thus creates a wakeup call to all governments and stakeholders on the need to be more vigilant and allocate more resources to R & D that deals with computer related crime before the issue spins out of control.