Journal article Open Access

Investigating and Prosecuting Cyber Crime: Forensic Dependencies and Barriers to Justice

Brown, Cameron S. D.

The primary goal of this paper is to raise awareness regarding legal loopholes and enabling technologies, which facilitate acts of cyber crime. In perusing these avenues of inquiry, the author seeks to identify systemic impediments which obstruct police investigations, prosecutions, and digital forensics interrogations. Existing academic research on this topic has tended to highlight theoretical perspectives when attempting to explain technology aided crime, rather than presenting practical insights from those actually tasked with working cyber crime cases. The author offers a grounded, pragmatic approach based on the in-depth experience gained serving with police task-forces, government agencies, and international organizations. The secondary objective of this research encourages policy makers to reevaluate strategies for combating the ubiquitous and evolving threat posed by cyber-criminality. Research in this paper has been guided by the firsthand global accounts (via the author’s core involvement in the preparation of the Comprehensive Study on Cyber crime (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2013) and is keenly focused on core issues of concern, as voiced by the international community. Further, a fictional case study is used as a vehicle to stimulate thinking and exemplify key points of reference. In this way, the author invites the reader to contemplate the reality of a cyber crime inquiry and the practical limits of the criminal justice process.

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