Review: Cybercrime: Legislation, Cases and Commentary
Survive Law's Leanne Rogers dives into Greg Urbas's Cybercrime textbook to give you the scoop on crime's new frontier.
Gregor Urbas’ Cybercrime: Legislation, Cases and Commentary delivers exactly what its title promises – cybercrime legislation, cases and commentary. What was once an “obscure backwater of law and criminology” is now a ubiquitous topic, with the ‘Internet of Things’ having impacted almost every facet of modern life. Yet it is surprising that very few Australian law schools teach this as a substantive subject in its own right – rather, cybercrimes are woven into other disciplines as an ‘afterthought’. In fact, before hearing about this book, the limited knowledge I had of dodgy dealings on the interwebs came from the pop-culture likes of The Matrix, Law and Order, and the recent series CSI: Cyber.
As the foreword highlights, “most cybercrimes are, fundamentally, traditional crimes committed with new means…” with age-old offences such as trespass, vandalism, fraud and threats simply adapting to the availability of new technologies. However, the law’s inflexible conventional interpretations and inadequately expressed intentions have highlighted the need for a specific regulatory framework in the area of cybercrime.
This textbook outlines this necessary (and often confusing) body of law in a way that is easy to read and relatively concise - it’s as short and light as legal textbooks come these days. Organised into neat sections based on categories of offences, and including discussion questions at the end of each chapter, this book is perfect for both the lazy and nerdy law student.
Given the global nature of this practice area, frequent reference is made to international laws, the main treaty being the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime. The author has done well to reconcile the international and Australian positions in under 315 pages, whilst also including relevant case studies to illustrate the arguments put forward.
The textbook includes comparative tables of rules from all Australian jurisdictions, including State and Commonwealth legislative provisions and case law. Bite* sized case extracts and media releases are frequently cited, and there is even an early example of a computer screen defacement attack on NASA. Search for Worms Against Nuclear Killers if you’re curious.
Besides being the first law textbook I’ve come across containing a picture (see the NASA defacement above), it is also one of the only textbooks I’ve looked forward to opening. Although the regulatory schemes are by no means simple, tricky concepts are articulated in an engaging manner, with the context behind such legislation explained in plain English.
No doubt that as this emerging area of law expands with technological advancements, so too will the bounds of this book. Hopefully future editions will be as interesting and easy to follow as the current one.
* …or should that be byte?
To grab your copy now, head over to LexisNexis' online store and snap it up for $120.00 AUD.
Our thanks to the crack team at LexisNexis for providing Survive Law with a copy of the book.
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