Prosecutors must increase their awareness of cybercrime, the director of Public Prosecutions, David Calvert-Smith, has warned.
Speaking at a Crown Prosecution Service Conference on Friday, he said that computers and the Internet were becoming an increasingly used tool for a wide range of criminal activity and the CPS needed to be alert to the dangers of high tech crime.
"Use of the Internet in many types of crime is becoming more and more common and presents a new challenge to law enforcement," he said. "While the CPS has successfully prosecuted a number of cases, especially in the area of child pornography, we still have much to learn and must make use of the best available expertise."
The Internet may have revolutionised global communications, but he pointed out that it is still an "anarchic environment which does not recognise international boundaries."
"The jurisdictional difficulties and the anonymity the Internet offers provide unprecedented opportunities for the cyber criminal," he explained. "It is not only used for conventional crimes such as fraud, drug dealing and the possession of child pornography, but for organised crime, terrorism and money laundering."
He also said that new forms of crime have emerged, including online harassment, cyberstalking and hacking.
Calvert-Smith said that overall prosecutors have to be more aware of how fast the Internet is growing. He estimated that 60 per cent of the UK population will be on the Internet in the next 10 years.
However, Calvert-Smith said the Internet is not all bad. He pointed out that it can do much to help law enforcement in tracing criminal activity.
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