electronic crimea convenient name to describe some new crimes made possible by the wider availability of computers and the opportunities provided by the Internet as well as some new ways of committing old crimes. The most notable new crime is HACKING which required to be developed because interference with computers did not always cause damage in the traditional legal sense. A ‘mixed’ offence would be GROOMING which can be done by a traditional letter but is more easily done in a chat room. In the same way IDENTITY THEFT can be done without a computer but is made easier by the use of computers. Many prosecutions relate to pornography but that is another example of an ordinary crime of having a traditional photograph which has been required to be adapted to the digital age. Thus the law resorted to the concept of a psuedo-photograph and decided that the act of voluntarily downloading an indecent image from the Internet onto a screen was an act of making a photograph. By downloading the image, the operator was creating or causing the image to exist on the computer screen. The image might remain on the screen for a second or for a much longer period. Whether its creation amounted to an act of making could not be determined by the length of time that the image remained on the screen. Special defences have thus been necessary to protect those who help to run the Internet but who can have no knowledge of what is passing through it. See HOSTING, CACHING.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006