The rise of “big data” has been one of the most important developments in the internet era. What exactly is big data? It has been defined as a “term describing the storage and analysis of large and or complex data sets using a series of techniques”. And big data is infiltrating every aspect of our lives. The number of things now connected to the internet has reached at least 8.7 billion in 2012.
One result of the vast reach of the Internet is that law enforcement is now attempting to combat cyber crime globally. Law enforcement agencies in many countries hope to utilize a coordinated and collaborative cross-border approach in order to respond to growing cyber threats. This means that multi-national corporations and law enforcement are attepting to cooperate with one another on a greater basis to achieve this goal.
With the increased cooperation between the corporate world and law enforcement, privacy rights are being eroded, especially by United States corporations as recent revelations by Edward J. Snowden show. How can the benefits derived from cooperation between corporations and government be balanced with the individual’s interest in keeping their personal and financial lives private? Where is the line between cyber security and individual privacy and what role do governments and corporations play in maintaining this delicate balance? The United States is not taking into account the far-reaching negative impact the changing definition of privacy is having on other states around the globe. Some countries are responding by considering data localization laws, and there is also a movement to give control of the Internet to the United Nations or to individual governments. There are also calls for reform to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). T
How is cyber crime defined? What is a cyber threat? Google defines cyber crime as “crime conducted by the internet or some other computer network”. The definition from WhatIs.com is “any illegal activity that uses a computer as its primary means of commission.” The computer has simply become another tool for the commission of crimes. There is, however, no definition of cyber crime at the international level and no international judiciary to address the issue. Privacy remains defined at the state level only.
In the International Bar Association article, Cybercrime: fighting an international threat, I am quoted as saying companies are not cognizant of how vulnerable they are to rogue attacks or how to protect themselves.