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Computer use and misuse: the constellation of control

Fafinski, Stefan Frederick (2008) Computer use and misuse: the constellation of control. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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This study is concerned with the nature of computer misuse and the legal and extralegal responses to it. It explores what is meant by the term ‘computer misuse’ and charts its emergence as a problem as well as its expansion in parallel with the continued progression in computing power, networking, reach and accessibility. In doing so, it surveys the attempts of the domestic criminal law to deal with some early manifestations of computer misuse and the consequent legislative passage of the Computer Misuse Act 1990. Having outlined the new criminal offences introduced by the 1990 Act, the study examines the extent to which the 1990 Act has been effective in controlling computer misuse, taking both prosecution rates and issues of judicial interpretation into account. It further examines the amendments made to the 1990 Act by the Police and Justice Act 2006 and their potential ramifications when they come into force. Having considered the position at domestic criminal law, the study turns to assess whether the solution to the effective regulation of computer misuse requires more than just the domestic criminal law. It explores the characteristics and purpose of the criminal law in the context of computer misuse and examines whether the domestic criminal law has limitations. The study then introduces theories of risk from realist, cultural and symbolic, ‘risk society’ and governmentality perspectives before considering the idea of a governance network as a means of responding to risk. It examines computer misuse and the role of the domestic criminal law in the light of these theories. Having established the theoretical governance framework, the study then explores the role of the law in general within this framework, examining potential new nodes of governance from the European Union, Council of Europe, Commonwealth, United Nations and Group of Eight. It considers whether there might be advantages in moving beyond the domestic criminal law in the response to computer misuse. The study then broadens the discussion of potential means of governance beyond the law to encompass extra-legal initiatives. It establishes a typology of these extra-legal initiatives and examines the contribution made by each to the governance of computer misuse. Finally, this study concludes with an examination of the complex governance network built up throughout the work and considers whether the regulation of computer misuse is only viable in a global networked society by a networked response combining nodes of both legal and extra-legal governance.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Law (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.496127
Depositing User: Digitisation Studio Leeds
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2012 15:16
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2014 11:23
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/2273

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