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Computer Crime

The development of technologies produces a profound impact on the contemporary society. At the same time, it should be said that effects of the wide implementation of new technologies is dubious. On the one hand, new technologies facilitate consistently the life of people, making it more comfortable, while on the other hand, they expose people to new threats, which have never been known before. In this respect, it should be said that technological threats do not always affect physical health or life of people, or their environment, but, contemporary technologies also create a serious threat of the identity theft. To put it more precisely, the security of private information of people becomes one of the major concerns in the contemporary world because the threat of the identity theft is constantly growing. In fact, this is a very serious problem which affects all people and it is hardly possible to estimate that a person is fully protected from the identity theft since even the largest and most secured companies cannot fully guarantee the protection of the private information of their customers and, therefore, people are exposed to this threat. In such a situation, it is important to assess the extent to which the threat of identity theft is widely spread and whether the threat will increase in the future.
On analyzing the problem of the identity theft in the contemporary world, it should be said that it is a relatively new problem since the development of technologies in the past could hardly provide opportunities for such a kind of theft (Anderson, 2002). The development of IT, Internet, computing was apparently beneficial for ordinary people since it facilitate consistently their life while for business the development of IT became the basis for the unparalleled economic growth and the development of new industries (Boyle and William, 1999). As a result, the emergence of e-commerce and e-business was the natural result of the development of new technologies.
At the same time, along with numerous benefits and advantageous of new technologies and new business, the threat of the identity theft became particularly significant. In fact, the main problem was that society was not really prepared for such technologies either technologically, or legally. What is meant here is the fact that large masses of people were and, to a significant extent still are, ignorant of possible threats they are exposed to through the use of new technologies. People have readily started to use new technologies but they did not really care about the protection of their private information that naturally increased the threat of the identity theft dramatically. In such a way, people could be involved in some illegal machinations online, being unconscious of possible consequences and existing threats.
Actually, even ordinary online transactions were and still are not totally secured. In this respect, it should be said such a lack of security proves the technological unpreparedness not only ordinary people but also large companies operating in banking industry for the introduction and wide use of new technologies. In fact, it is possible to find numerous examples of breaches in IS of many large companies, including banks which apparently involved the misuse of the private information of people and, therefore, created the direct threat of the identity theft. The existing IS proved to be not really effective in regard to the protection of private information of people from breaches and misuse. In this regard, some researchers (Anderso, 2002) indicate to the fact that contemporary technologies are insufficient to fully protect people from the threat of the identity theft since even such traditionally highly protected system as banking system is susceptible to breaches and misuse of private information of customers.
Moreover, ordinary people are not less susceptible to such a threat. It should be said that private information stored on their PCs, for instance, as well as the information concerning their IDs, driving licenses, etc. are not really secured and the risk of misuse or thieving of this information is very high. However, it is ordinary users that are the most unconscious or ignorant of possible threats and, at the same time, they are the most exposed to such threats. At any rate, specialists on IT security (Adams, 1997) point out that the problem with the misuse of private information or the identity theft occurs not within the bank or any other company but rather on the end-user’s computer and this problem may be observed not only in such sensitive industry as banking but in e-business at large.
Technologically, the threat of the identity theft is clearly identified by IT specialists. They underline that the core of the problem may be found in the hackers’ ability to decrypt codes and obtain passwords by cracking into the software that was downloaded on the user’s computer. In such a way, offenders can receive any information they have and they can use them in any way they want. In such a context, the loss of money, for instance, in the result of elementary theft using such a technique seems to be the minor threat compared to the risk of the identity theft since, on retrieving all information on user’s identity, offenders can use it in their own interests (Lucas and Baroudi, 2002).
At the same time, the essence of the problem of the identity theft is not limited to the technological domain solely. In this respect, it is necessary to underline the fact that the lack of legislative regulation also plays an extremely important role. In fact, the development of legislation is, to a significant extent, characterized by certain backwardness compared to the development of new technologies. What is meant here is the fact that the implementation of changes in the existing legislation, especially in developed countries, is traditionally a long-lasting process since the stability of legislation and its unchangeable nature are the major factors that determine the economic and political stability in developed countries. In contrast, the development of technologies consistently outweighs the implementation of legislative changes and improvements (Lucas and Baroudi, 2002). As a result, the existing legislation cannot fully prevent the threat of the identity theft. At any rate, the recent efforts to prevent cyber crime on the legislative level are important, necessary, but they are apparently insufficient. The endorsement of the existing legislation and the focus on the protection of private information of people are very important but the legislative changes are rather a reaction in response to crimes that have been committed, including the identity theft.
On the other hand, it is obvious that the threat of the identity theft cannot be solved on the legislative level solely. Even the perfect legislation cannot prevent the violation of law, if there remain ample technological opportunities for misuse of private information of people or even for the threat of the identity theft. In this respect, specialists (Lucas and Baroudi, 2002) lay emphasis on the necessity of the introduction of new IS and their constant improvement. At the same time, the technological improvements should be focused on the security of ordinary users, people that are the most exposed to the threat of the identity theft (Mica, 1999). This means that it is not only large companies that should have access to the most effective IS, but ordinary people should be protected too. Though, it does not mean that each individual should be an IT professional to secure his/her private information, for instance, instead, he/she needs to possess technology, which could secure his/her private information effectively, minimizing the threat of the identity theft.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the contemporary society faces a serious threat of the identity theft. In such a situation, the simultaneous technological and legal improvement could, to a significant extent, minimize this threat and decrease the risk of misuse of private information of people.

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Anderson, C. In Search of Perfect Market. The Economist, May, 2002, vol. 343.
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Boyle, M. and William, J. The Emerging International Tax Environment For Electronic Commerce. Tax Management International Journal, vol. 28(6), 1999.
Coyle, T. Surveys and Trends. America’s Community Banker, vol.8(9), 1999.
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