Telecommunications and Crime: Regulatory Dilemmas

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This paper examines the regulatory context of crime arising from the connectivity of computing and communications. Nine varieties of telecommunications-related crime are considered: theft of services, communications in furtherance of criminal conspiracies, telecommunications piracy, the dissemination of offensive materials, electronic money laundering, electronic vandalism, telemarketing fraud, illegal interception, and electronic funds transfer fraud. The paper concludes that the most appropriate configuration of regulatory strategies for the control of telecommunications-related crime entails a mixture of law enforcement, and technological and market-based solutions. The pursuit of a strict regulatory agenda is, in most cases, not feasible because of the limited capacity of the state. Over-regulation, moreover, may stifle commercial and technological development. It is argued that the marketplace may be able to provide more efficient solutions to the problems of telecommunications crime than state interventions.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra, ACT.

Publication date: July 1, 1997

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