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Articles contributed by Philippsohn Crawfords Berwald
In some of this series of articles on cyber crime we have looked at the ways in which cyber crime, and in particular, identity theft, is committed. We have also explored some of the ways in which the unsuspecting victim may become liable themselves and the pitfalls of self-help investigations by victims.
Second Life is a ‘virtual online community’ that was created in 2003 by Linden Labs, a technology company based in San Francisco. It is a virtual world that is growing at an astonishing rate, with the number of users having soared from approximately 700,000 last autumn to its current level of over 8,500,000 residents.
The internet has become an important medium through which businesses promote themselves, their products and services. As such, a domain name is not only an internet address forming an electronic link to a website; it is also an integral part of any business's branding strategy.
In last month's article (IHL150, p59) we saw that the blanket of liability can cover employers, ISPs and companies with lax security systems. This article is intended to expand on this theme and explore additional parties who may be held liable, in particular those who become liable due to inaction despite knowledge of wrongdoing.
While it may seem obvious that the perpetrators of crime should be held responsible for their actions, the world of cyber crime opens up responsibility to other parties who may become liable through no fault of their own.
Information technology has solved many long-forgotten problems. It has also, however, thrown up its own issues, often on an unprecedented scale. One of those issues is cyber crime.
The cost to the UK economy of identity fraud is estimated at £3.5bn per annum. While most publicity is about the individuals who have fallen victim, corporations have also suffered substantial losses through the impact of ID fraud. This loss can result both from the damage caused to a business when its identity is stolen and the damage that can be caused when third-party information held by a business falls into the hands of an unscrupulous third party.
Most businesses today are aware of the dangers of unauthorised access to their computer systems. Confidential information may be stolen and data damaged. Vetting employees and security software can help tackle the problem, but against a determined opponent such measures may be insufficient.
Cyber crime is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the world today. It is a global threat and the consequences can be severe. According to the ‘Get Safe Online' survey published by the government this year, people in the UK are more afraid of internet crime than ‘physical' crimes - 21% of respondents felt most at risk from net crime, while only 16% felt most at risk from burglary.