Measures to tackle cybercrime insufficient

Measures to prevent cybercrime are inadequate. Criminal law should be modified internationally. This is what PhD candidate Qianyun Wang (Erasmus School of Law) says in her doctoral thesis, which she defences on Thursday, December 15th, 2016. According to her, there should be a systematic, comprehensive and stable regulatory environment to fight cybercrime properly.

Cybercrime is very common, while countermeasures are ineffective. According to Wang, that is because the scope of the criminal law is inadequate or unclear. Besides that, cybercrime is not limited to one country and there are inconsistencies between national laws when it comes to this form of offences. 

These are the reasons for Wang to investigate how the criminal law can be adapted to effectively fight against cybercrime. She compared the approaches in China, US, UK, Singapore and the Council of Europe, and the experience gained in various legal systems.

Stable legislation
Wang shows that cybercrime requires systematic, comprehensive and stable laws. She differentiates between new crimes (with computers or data as targets by technical means) and "traditional" crime such as fraud, which is facilitated by computers.

According to Wang, new legislation is necessary for the new crimes. In concluding these, both the computer that being attacked and the data that is interfered should be taken into account. That works best: it ensures that the criminalisation does not go too far – restricting online freedom. In addition, such a dual approach promotes the much-needed international harmonisation on laws and thus international coordination. The researcher adds that the criminal laws concerning cybercrime must always be adjusted and updated to keep pace with developments in information technology.
Wang also notes that countries go against their own cybercrime laws by illegally tapping into the digital communications of senior officials from other countries, such as the PRISM program of the NSA.

About Qianyun Wang
Wang Qianyun studied at Southwest University of Political Science and Law (SWUPL) and the China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL). She also worked for Google China and the Supreme Court in China. In 2012 she started her PhD research at the Erasmus School of Law.

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