Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fighting Cyber Crime

By David Simms, Senior Contributor

It is always inspiring to see attempts at forging new and meaningful laws to fight against cyber-crimes. The lines are typically drawn in the sand between those wanting to crack down on cyber criminals holding them accountable while making them stop their destructive activity on the internet and those complaining that privacy rights of citizens will be surrendered. Canada is in the midst of such a debate now. Some lawmakers are attempting to pass a bill that makes cyber criminals accountable for their actions by allowing law enforcement to identify and pursue them.  It has unfortunately spurred the expected backlash among groups of citizens and journalism institutions.

The backlashers are concerned about their government gaining too much control if the law is enacted because it would allow law enforcement the right to track and record information on any individual they deem suspect.  Journalists worry they might be targeted if they happen to cross the line with sensitive topics, placing constraints on their ability to do accurate and proper reporting. Those in favor of the bill say that cyber criminals must be hit hard, and where it counts. Keeping the existing status quo will do nothing but encourage the growing problem.  It is feared that if laws are not created to curb internet harassment, the already damaging activity will continue to spiral out of control.

If bills like the one in Canada are voted down, it sends the message loud and clear to those perpetrating their cyber hate, to continue doing it.  It implies everyone has the right to hurt others as they deem fit, even if it causes loss of life.  In this case, the media’s interests happen to greatly benefit cyber criminals. They are using their medium to drum up an exaggerated public perception that the law would be a step toward unwarranted privacy invasion by the government. 

As the new congressional cycle is about to begin, we should be praying and supporting those in favor of this bill.  Cyber criminals need something to be scared of.