With the help of the Internet, information can be transmitted worldwide within only a matter of seconds. This can be put to use to easily exchange information and opinions, to control industrial production plants, or to execute financial transaction. The same technology can, however, also be (ab)used by perpetrators to commit crimes from anywhere in the world. The results of such acts can affect the same country, other continents, or even have worldwide effects.
Traditional transnational crimes can often be detected at the geographical borders of a country or a region. Random inspections allow to control imports and exports of goods and other material at least up to a certain degree. With respect to data and other intangible goods this is no longer possible. It is therefore necessary to find alternative possibilities of control and for the prosecution of computer crimes. Such a strategy can, however, no longer be implemented by individual states. Instead, it requires joint efforts of all countries. Transnational and international forms of computer crime therefore pose a great challenge for national criminal law as well as for international law.
It can be assumed that the relevance of computer crime and cybercrime will increase even further in the near future, because law enforcement agencies have only limited possibilities to detect and prosecute crimes committed over the Internet, while – at the same time – perpetrators can act interconnected on a fast and worldwide scale. These opportunities attract not only individual perpetrators who want to exploit the legal and technical difficulties of prosecutors, but increasingly also organized groups. These organizations often act across national borders and divide their work load between the members.
Several publications as well as research projects that have been conducted at the Cybercrime Research Institute and at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law under the participation of Dr. Brunst cover various aspects of the beforementioned problems as well as possible legal solutions.