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The Impact of Technology on Crime

Abstract

There is no doubt that technology has brought with it nearly as many evils as the benefits. People with evil intents have cashed in on the opportunities given by the new technologies. There are as many evil inventions as noble inventions. The phenomenal increase in technology-related crimes has even necessitated the formation of departments in the national security facilities of many countries to deal with cyber crime. Indeed, the evolution of technology has not only enabled the invention of new types of crime, but it has also facilitated new methods of executing old-fashioned crimes. This paper will explore the way in which the evolution of technology has contributed to the invention of new categories of crime. The paper will trace the players, including the perpetrators, the victims, and the law enforcement authorities who try to keep these crimes in check. Furthermore, the paper will describe and explain the effects of technology-related crime, both physical and emotional.

Technology-enabled crime is a phenomenon that conventionally refers to crime that is related to Information Communication and Technology rather than other forms of technology. It has also been christened “cyber crime” or “computer crime”. The nature of communication and flow of information makes the technology that is used prone to criminal activity. A lot of criminals have found new avenues of inflicting harm and causing damage using technological devices and networks. Terrorists have also unearthed the thrilling prospect of paralyzing entire government systems from the comfort of their dens wherever they may be. Indeed, as technological advancement takes hold, so do criminal activities related to technology. What makes the whole affair a scare is the fact that technology-enabled crimes could possibly have even more dire consequences than traditional crimes.

The Perpetrators

The fact that technology-related crime exists promptly poses the question: who are the perpetrators of these crimes. Cyber crime is an intricate category of crime to handle because of its availability to anybody with a computer device and a communications network at his or her disposal. Even more perplexing, cyber crimes can be committed from extremely remote localities with minimum exposure to the risk of getting caught.

One of the most rampant forms of technology-based crime is undoubtedly child abuse that is committed through chat rooms (Arnaldo, Carlos A 2001, p. 3). Some criminals befriend children with the aim of further exploiting that friendship in ways that often end up in the sexual abuse of the child. These ‘predators’ often aim to lure the children into such activities as prostitution and child pornography.

Terrorists have also found an unexpected heaven in the opportunity that cyber crimes offer them. From the comfort of their cloisters, terrorists are able to paralyze the systems of organizations and cause hullabaloo as they please. A case in point is the year 2000 when an unknown person hacked into the databases of the control system of the Australian waste management firm and released millions of gallons of raw sewage into a town.

The other category of criminals who make use of technology to achieve heinous ends are hackers. These people, whether merely out of thrill or for other deep-seated reasons, gain unauthorized access into the accounts of other individuals or even companies. Hackers usually cause a lot of damage, because the information they access is often confidential and its release into the public domain may cause unprecedented upheavals (Hedayati 2012, pp. 1-12).

The Effects of Technology-Based Crime

Technology-based crime usually has far-reaching effects. The perpetrators are people who usually want to achieve certain goals tramping on other people’s privacies and rights along the way. Cyber crimes have a broad spectrum of effects. This paper will discuss their physical and emotional effects.

Cyber criminals who lure children into entering emotional connections with them often spend many hours in chat rooms trying to lure these children. This has predictable physical impact not only on victims, but also perpetrators. The risk of developing a Repetitive Strain Injury (R.S.I) is significantly heightened for both the perpetrator and his (or her) victim. The risk of developing eye problems is also increased. Besides of the physical effects that are witnessed as a result of spending many hours in front of a computer, cyber criminals are also able to detonate bombs, interfere with the power supplies of entire towns, and produce a whole range of physical damage as a result of their activities.

Technology-related crime is responsible for much psychological harm including bullying, threatening, and blackmailing (Kowalski, Robert M; Limber, Susan P; Agatston, Patricia W 2012, p. 205). Hackers often access sensitive information from secret databases and disclose this information to parties that are not supposed to get it. In the case of personal accounts, cyber criminals often cause havoc in families and other institutions. Worse still, hackers are able to access propaganda causing unwarranted psychological torture to parties involved. In the case of criminals who get to their victims through chat rooms, the emotional connection formed between the criminal and the unsuspecting victim is usually so strong that it may cause the victim to lose connection with his (or her) family. Those victims who are lucky enough to uncover the hoax in ample time are usually left in a state of emotional devastation. Thus, cyber crimes can have deep emotional consequences on the victims.

Emerging Issues

Drug dealers have exploited new technologies to manufacture “designer drugs”, with an eye for societal demographics. Before the cyber age, designers were not quite able to engage in data diddling or salami slicing (Newton, Michael, 2003, p. xvi). The internet has offered drug dealers new opportunities to customize their drug manufacturing capacities according’ to the “needs of the population”. Furthermore, the enormous amount of information on the internet guides drug dealers in manufacturing drugs that can easily avoid the grip of existing rules.

New technologies have prompted an outlandish rise in crime. Authorities have not quite been able to adjust to these crimes as fast as the crimes evolve (Moore, Robert 2010). As the authorities grapple with the new realities, the crimes keep building tremendous potential for harm and become more and more heinous. Moreover, the fact that the authorities are not able to predict what the next wave of technology-based crime will entail has made coping with the crimes even harder. Another factor that has made the new technologies a cause of rise in crime is the masking effect that new technology has. Few people bother to report technology-based crime, and the effect is that the authorities have inaccurate data concerning its prevalence. The real situation is masked behind a semblance of relative calm, whereas technological crimes continue to grow more and more rampant.

Conclusion

The evolution of technology brings with it a new concern; technology-based crimes are on an upward surge. New technology sets the base for the evolution of crime into levels that the authorities may find difficult to control. The possibility that technology-based crimes may grow to horrendous levels gives the authorities a daunting task to try and eliminate this vice.

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