Cybercrime

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 9:18 am
William Barnes

The word is starting to grow on me. I used to really dislike it. It sounded like something out of a Saturday morning cartoon. Mostly it (along with “cyberspace”) just encourages people to talk about the Internet as if it were a place. The Internet isn’t a place, it’s a bunch of computers and wires that talk to each other. The whole “cyberspace” metaphor is useful for quickly explaining something, but it doesn’t really represent what is going on in your computer.

My first IPilogue article was just published: What is Cybercrime? It’s mainly a comment on another article on the same subject which basically defines cybercrimes as crimes taking place in cyberspace and then concludes that none exist: all cybercrimes are just regular crimes adapted to work in cyberspace. The author does, in a later article, express a little embarrassment at the term but she does not acknowledge its unsuitability. I say rather that cybercrimes are just unique computer crimes. They’re crimes that weren’t possible without computers but they don’t require us to invent some kind of allegory to make them fit into our existing system of criminal laws.

IPilogue

Thursday, Apr 2, 2009 10:26 pm
William Barnes

IPilogue is Osgoode Hall Law School’s student run IP blog. They run a short article on a topic in IP almost every day. A few weeks ago, I noticed a posting on the website calling for editors. I saw that the job description didn’t specifically say “You must be an Osgoode student”, so I sent an email asking if they would accept an application from me. Turns out they would. Then it turned out that they accepted me as an editor. Pretty cool.

I had my very first meeting today. I was rather nervous at the beginning, being the only non-Osgoode student. But after that wore off, it went pretty well. After I introduced myself as being a first year from UofT, two of the people who came after introduced themselves as being from Osgoode. I don’t know whether to read anything into that. Everybody seems very nice. I wish I could have stayed a bit longer to meet some of the people who stayed behind, but I had to run to start my three hour journey home. Next time I have to go to Osgoode, I drive.

In related news: what kind of a word is “cybercrime”? It sounds like what RoboCop would fight. Or some kind of scary title for a Dateline episode: “You could be a victim of Cybercrime.” Computer crime has too many syllables. I suppose cybercrime is catchy, but something about the word just makes me feel uncomfortable. Maybe it’s a geek thing. I’m too used to cringing whenever a non-tech tries to talk about computers or the internet. And I’ve just come to associate the prefix “cyber” with non-techies. Wow. I learned something about myself. Justice McLachlin (as she then was) was right: expression can be a tool for self-realization.