Thomas J. Holt. Michigan State University
Scott Decker. Arizona State University
Over the last decade, there has been increasing focus by academics and policy makers on the problem of cybercrime, defined broadly as the misuse or manipulation of technology in the facilitation of criminal and deviant behavior. The emergence of the World Wide Web, smartphones, and Computer-Mediated Communications (CMCs), referred to in Europe as ICT, or information and communications technology, profoundly affect the way in which people interact on and off-line. Individuals who engage in socially unacceptable or outright criminal acts increasingly utilize technology to connect with one another in ways that are not otherwise possible in the real world due to shame, social stigma, or risk of detection. The use of web forums, social media like Facebook, and email engender the formation of deviant and criminal subcultures in on-line environments that provide justifications for offending on and off-line. Similarly, the growth of e-commerce sites and large data-based information on-line provide unparalleled opportunities for intellectual property theft, data manipulation, and espionage. Various forms of critical infrastructure that are vital to the day-to-day operations of societies ac ross the globe, including telephony, power grids, and financial service providers, are connected to the Internet. As a consequence, there are now myriad opportunities for wrongdoing and abuse through technology. For instance, the term cyberdeviance refers to a behavior facilitated by technology that may not be illegal, though it is outside of the formal and informal norms or beliefs of the prevailing culture. Activities which violate codified legal statues technically constitute crimes and are considered cybercrimes when cyberspace is used to facilitate an offense. The intersection of cybercrime and cyberdeviance is also related to the emerging problem of cyberterrorism, where digital technology or computer mediated communications are used to cause harm and force social change based on ideological or political beliefs. Criminologists and sociologists across the world have begun to examine these issues, though there is a high degree of segmentation and regional/national segmentation in research. This issue is exacerbated by the relatively small number of researchers working in this area, which is otherwise dominated by studies of drugs, gangs, and traditional real-world crimes. As a result, there are limited instances of cross-national research collaboration and recognition of common themes of research. Thus, we intend this conference to serve as a mechanism to 1) determine a common language to assess cybercrime on the basis of different theoretical and research traditions, 2) advance an understanding of the data sources and methodologies that can be used to examine cybercrime victimization and offending, 3) identify international collaborators on the basis of either topic areas, theoretical perspectives, or methodological interests, and 4) provide a platform for the creation of an international research consortium from the social sciences to examine cybercrime. By bringing leading scholars together in a single location, we expect that this conference can revolutionize the body of cybercrime scholarship by bridging gaps in our knowledge of existing research projects, data, and methods. In addition, this will create an opportunity for engaged scholarship to produce an edited volume that identifies the limitations of the current state of the field, and highlights strategies to impro ve our understanding of the applicability of criminological theory to understand offending and victimization, as well as influence public policy generally. The workshop organizers will act as volume editors and set lines for chapters and themes to be addressed by participants.