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Technology and the Crime Society: Rethinking Legal Protection

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Building on existing insights of the risk society and the surveillance society, this article sketches the contours of the emerging crime society, where every form of human behaviour is perceived in terms of potential criminal risk and controlled by means of criminal law. It articulates the pivotal role of technology in the ever increasing footprint of criminal law, as it facilitates criminalisation, expanding policing, preventative and architectural approaches, and pervasive surveillance. Criminal law is shifting from a last resort to a primary tool of social control: criminal risk governance. This paradigm shift goes hand in hand with a shift in the power balance between government and citizens, and therefore forces us to rethink legal protection. Apart from continuing to ensure a balanced investigation of concrete crimes and a fair trial, the advent of the crime society also calls for embedding organised distrust throughout the criminal justice system, by systematic auditing and administrative controls.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • Stem cell research, cloning, GMOs ... How do regulations effect such emerging technologies? What impact do new technologies have on law? And can we rely on technology itself as a regulatory tool?

    The meeting of law and technology is rapidly becoming an increasingly significant (and controversial) topic. Law, Innovation and Technology is, however, the only journal to engage fully with it, setting an innovative and distinctive agenda for lawyers, ethicists and policy makers. Spanning ICTs, biotechnologies, nanotechnologies, neurotechnologies, robotics and AI, it offers a unique forum for the highest level of reflection on this essential area.

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