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Surveillance as a Response to Crime in Cyberspace

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The Council of Europe recently released the first draft of a proposed international convention concerning crime in cyberspace. The convention is made up of 29 draft articles. However, Articles 18 and 28 dealing with interception are blank apart from the statement 'under discussion'. One of the UK Government's responses to the perceived risk of criminal activity which either uses the Internet to facilitate or directly commit crime has been to promote interception and surveillance of communications over the Internet. To this end the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill (RIP Bill) contains proposals requiring Internet Service Providers to co-operate in the process of interception and surveillance. This paper looks at the interception/surveillance response in the context of other attempts to regulate crime in cyberspace. It is argued that conceptualising and segregating crime in cyberspace and using the designation 'cyber-crime' may have contributed to the introduction of surveillance measures. With reference to child pornography and the Internet as a short case study this paper explores the issues which should inform debate about regulation in this area.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: The Law School, Cavendish Hall, Beckett Park Campus, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, LS6 3QS, UK. E-mail:

Publication date: 2000-10-01

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