As smartphones, the internet and an array of personal computing devices have become increasingly ubiquitous in our society, so have such technologies also become either the means or the object of a wide range of criminal activity. Many of the most challenging developments in criminal law and procedure now arise in the context of crimes that involve the internet or computers. This seminar will explore how technology, and the social and cultural changes it has brought about, challenge our traditional approaches to criminal law and procedure, in particular core concepts such as knowledge and intent, causation, justification or excuse, and jurisdiction. We will approach the subject of cybercrime from both doctrinal and policy standpoints. We begin by analyzing the nature of cybercrime and the ways in which it may or may not be different from ""regular"" crimes, and may or may not require specialized statutes or enforcement. We will then review relevant statutes including the federa l Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Wiretap Act, and state and foreign equivalents. We will consider conduct such as hacking, DDoS attacks and extortion, data and identity theft, phishing and other online fraud, economic espionage, threats, harassment, cyberbullying, and cyberstalking. We will devote substantial attention to procedural issues such as electronic surveillance, search and seizure, and evidentiary questions, with an emphasis on differing expectations of privacy in an online world, on notions of self-incrimination through compelled disclosure of passwords or access controls, on the difficulties of balancing privacy interests against valid law enforcement interests and on unique authentication and admissibility challenges posed by digital and online evidence.
Students may also wish to consider taking the Cyberlaw clinic in the spring semester.