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Cybercrime Jurisdiction

NCJ Number
Crime, Law and Social Change Volume: 46 Issue: 4-5 Dated: 2006 Pages: 189-206
Susan W. Brenner
Date Published
18 pages
This article explores the challenges to criminal jurisdiction presented by cybercrime.
The main argument is that the general principles that govern sovereign jurisdiction can accommodate cybercrime. The author explains that modern jurisdictional provisions can expand jurisdictional questions to include both nationality and conduct that occurs outside the territory but has, or is intended to have, consequences within the territory. The principles governing jurisdiction have evolved over the last several millennia as the world has become increasingly complex. For most of history, criminal activities have been mainly local in nature, meaning that the victim, the perpetrator, and the criminal event were all at one location at one point in time. Cybercrime challenges traditional notions of crime and jurisdiction because it is non-local in nature, which throws law enforcement into confusion regarding who should investigate and prosecute the criminal. However, the author analyzes two types of cybercrime--local cybercrime and transnational cybercrime--to show how existing jurisdictional principles can accommodate the investigation of cybercrimes and the prosecution of its offenders. The resolution of conflicting jurisdictional claims is examined followed by a discussion of the factors that should be considered in prioritizing jurisdictional claims, which include: the place of the commission of the crime, the custody of the perpetrator, the harm caused, the nationality of both the victim and the perpetrator, the strength of the case, and the punishments available in the jurisdictions under consideration. Footnotes


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