Boston Mayor Thomas Menino recently announced initiatives, including a hotline, to combat ‘cyber-bullying’ instances among students in Boston area schools. The hotline, staffed by the City’s Law Department, Boston Public Schools and the Boston Police Department, allows callers to voice concerns, report bullying occurrences, request assistance, and screen for emergency situations that might require an immediate response.
The Anti-Cyber Bullying initiative comes in response to the recent arrest of three Newburyport High School students that were criminally charged with identity theft. The three students allegedly made a fake Facebook page of a student, along with his picture, and posted negative comments about other students from that fake account. The other student only learned of the identity theft when other classmates began making fun of him at school.
Identity theft has become a major issue in today’s world, and internet crimes in general are increasing exponentially. Cyber Crimes are not limited to just those traditional internet crimes such as credit card fraud, identity theft and piracy, but also encompass crimes such as larceny and prostitution. Computer or cyber-technology has also been the medium which has predicated many typical crimes, including sexual assaults, rapes and even murder. As crimes involving computers are become more and more sophisticated, law enforcement is dedicating increasing resources to combat internet crimes.
The United States Department of Justice has defined cyber crime in one of three ways:
- Attacking the computers of others;
- Using the computer as a weapon to commit “traditional crimes” (i.e., fraud, illegal gambling, pornography); or
- Using a computer as a medium to store illegal information.