It would not come as a surprise if someone says that most people today, spend more time in the internet than in real-life activities. As Social Networking Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like continues to increase the number of its average daily consumers, these websites become the main channel by which people communicates and socialize with each other. However, the internet today is not only dominant due to the advent of SNSs but because almost every piece of knowledge, idea, and even forms of interaction could be taken/done through it. An example of this would be e-commerce. Before internet’s inception, buyers and sellers must meet at a specific place in order to conduct transactions. Today, buyers could simply hit a single button and have his commodities delivered to his/her place within a single day. Although there are still a multitude of other interactions which could be done through it, the main point is that everything could be done over online.
However, as people continues to innovate and find ways to make life easier, some of us could also find new ways or loopholes in order to abuse these systems. Just as how people find ways to corrupt a man-made system such as the government, so as they find something that could be used in the internet. Today, there are plenty of online acts, which have been declared as “criminal offences”, because of their intention to abuse someone. Some of these criminal acts, or “internet crimes”, includes phishing, blackmailing, accessing stored communications, sports betting, non-delivery of merchandise, electronic harassment, child prostitution, drug-trafficking, and copyright infringement, amongst others.
One example of these internet crimes is phishing, or the act of automatically soliciting sales and/or answers regardless of the user’s consent, more particularly those which contains vital information about him. Phishing has been regarded as one internet crime since states today have known how important it is to keep the privacy and personal information of online users safe. Another example of an internet crime is blackmailing/extortion. This offense is considered as a very serious one since it was used by criminals even before the advent of the internet in order to gain something by threatening an individual to release a sensitive information if one cannot comply. Today, blackmailing becomes a lot easier since everyone becomes interconnected, providing an easier access to other people’s sensitive information. Following from this, other examples of crimes which existed even before the advent of internet includes sports-betting, child prostitution, drug-trafficking, and copyright infringement, all of which are made easier by the increasing interconnectedness of users around the world. Lastly, we also have an increase in the non-delivery of merchandise purchased through e-commerce or other methods over the web. As stated earlier, more and more people are using e-commerce to purchase their goods and remove the hassle of going grocery shopping in physical retail stores. This is an important internet crime to note, especially because of this ever-increasing number of online shoppers.
These internet crimes were identified and established in order to prevent abuses and risks to the safety of online users today. However, during the time when the internet was first created as well as its early years, perpetrators who committed these were note sanctioned and were able to make millions (if not billions of dollars) through what others would call as “legitimate abuses”. However, as the number of people who access online sites every day continues to grow, governments and other organizations all over the world has erected these safeguards in order to make sure that internet users could have a healthy, productive, and secured internet community.