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The libertarian origins of cybercrime: unintended side-effects of a political utopia

By Jeanette Hofmann


Cybercrime and its potential ramifications exemplify 'one of those things that nobody wants' (Popper 1963). From today's perspective it would have been easy to foresee and at least partly prevent the mischief of cybercrime. One therefore wonders what early developers and users of the Internet actually envisioned, and how malpractices such as spreading damaging viruses relate to these visions. This essay approaches this question by interpreting cybercrime as an unintended consequence of the utopian dreams that flourished during the early days of the Internet. In itself a highly innovative activity, cybercrime can be seen as an ironic counterpart to the expectations of an egalitarian cyberspace whose technical and social norms condemned discrimination against any type of applications and uses

Topics: K Law (General)
Publisher: Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation, London School of Economics and Political Science
Year: 2010
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online

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