Content cybercrimes: criminality and censorship in Asia

Broadhurst, Roderic G. (2006) Content cybercrimes: criminality and censorship in Asia. Indian Journal of Criminology, 34(1 & 2), pp. 11-30.


This paper addresses some of the problems associated with the suppression of 'content' in the Asian context.

Information technologies and computer connectivity, especially via the Internet, have radically changed the way the world communicates and help to drive the processes of ‘globalisation’. Time and space are seemingly compressed (the ‘death of distance’ ) and new ‘digital’ economies emerge while markets (legal or illegal) exploit opportunities and create wealth, while governments grabble with policing the ‘information super-highways’. Digital divides have also emerged, with many less developed countries excluded from competing in this new world, to the disadvantage of their economies. The digital divide also has consequences for the effective global enforcement of cyber-crimes: undeveloped and vulnerable IT national infrastructures, coupled with weak IT security and policing, provide ‘safe havens’ and crime ‘rookeries’. As sociologists have recognised, ‘communities of shared fate’, not necessarily contiguous with nation-states, have now emerged and the failure of one to act against crime is sufficient to nullify the positive actions of others. Without a seamless web of mutual legal assistance and comity between nations, and without public/private partnerships, policing the information superhighway will be impossible and the ‘frontier’ of cyberspace will be as lawless as any wild west. Advocates of a ‘free’ Internet who suggest that it both encourages civil society and enhances the democratisation of otherwise authoritarian regimes have been challenged. There is little evidence that the Internet has undermined authoritarian regimes or has developed faster in those jurisdictions with higher literacy levels, political freedom and English proficiency in Asia. The Internet’s capability as a profound and vibrant vector of free speech is well known, as is its attraction to the purveyors of hate, sadistic erotica and child pornography and other menaces whose markets are readily cultivated and exploited. The Internet is a market open to all with access to a computer and something to say or sell, though there is little evidence that it is awash with ‘snuff movies’, hate sites, child pornography or DIY bomb guides.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 7029
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: provides data on the form and extent of "content" crime
Keywords: cyber, crime, internet content, internet regulation, hate crime, Asia
ISSN: 0376-9844
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Indian Society of Criminology
Deposited On: 18 Apr 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:39

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