HOW SHOULD CYBERCRIMINALS BE PUNISHED?

Cyber crime refers to outlawed use of the network and a computer with an aim to commit a crime be it to copyright, hack or conduct cyber warfare. These crimes cannot go unpunished. There are several laws that have been put in place to curb this though deterrent measures have not been very successful. In 1820, the first case was recorded in Joseph-Marie Jacquard’s textile factory, whose machine was considered as the earliest form of a computer. His workers committed sabotage to discourage him from implementing further changes in technology since they feared losing their jobs. Various countries have effected various legislation against cyber crime and the installation of malware on unsuspecting network users. In this essay, I will discuss various cyber crimes, legislations put in place to curb these and then propose various ways of punishing cyber criminals.
The first crime I am going to discuss is computer fraud. This entails use of the internet to misinterpret facts by changing the content with an aim of causing loss. The objective of fraud may or may not be beneficial to the perpetrator. This may include altering, misusing, suppressing or stealing information related to input of data, concealment of transactions, change of stored data, application programs or operating software, change of a person’s identity, bank fraud and altering classified data. This crime is punishable by a jail-term varying according to a particular country and gravity of crime committed. The perpetrators of these crimes should be heavily fined in addition to a considerable jail term. Where the criminals are not able to pay for liability damages, countries should amend their laws to incorporate a clause allowing confiscation of personal property.
Harassment entails use of threats, spread of slander and libel, obscenities and displaying obscene content about a person. This might be based on gender, religion, country of origin or race. In popular social sites and chat rooms, these crimes have become very prevalent. Cyber stalking entails spreading false statements and encouraging others to do so, monitoring and threatening in order to solicit minors for sex commonly known as online predator, or gather information in order to cause distress to another party. Hate crime occurs when one is prejudiced over another’s race, gender or religion and holds certain stereotypes against them which one chooses to spread over the internet. Combating this crime has been challenged by federal law which limits the ability of law agencies to track down the stalkers. The U.S Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 provides anonymity to persons who use cable companies to acquire their Internet Service Providers (ISPs).Proper laws which are easy to implement should be put in place. Once a user is suspected, data about him should be collected to ensure sufficient evidence in law courts against them and when making liability claims. Their ISP addresses should be disconnected and data about the perpetrator floated in the net to warn all companies about this.

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