How have legislatures responded to crimes involving the use of computers?

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brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

With difficulty.  The internet craze and the effect it has had on commerce and communication has made it very difficult to regulate, because no one planned for its regulation ahead of time.  That is, the cat was out of the bag and legislatures had to try and react to problems that arose from computer use.

On the one hand, computers offer a splendid record of activity. Pretty much everything you do, type or download with a computer is recorded somewhere, and can usually be found on your own computer, and this makes for fantastic evidence in a court of law to prove wrongdoing. This has helped to track child pornography rings, but at the same time, the anonymous nature of the internet has caused the crime rate in that area to explode.

But the internet knows few borders, so the states have had to deal with how to assess taxes on transactions that happen between residents of one state and those of another.  They have had to rewrite some laws to define fraud and other illegal activity as including computers and the internet as well, and of course, identity theft is a huge problem for law enforcement because of its international nature.  States Attorney Generals have therefore had to concentrate some of their resources on protecting state residents from international and interstate computer fraud and theft.