Toward a Criminal Law for Cyberspace: Distributed Security

Posted: 13 Jul 2004

See all articles by Susan W. Brenner

Susan W. Brenner

University of Dayton - School of Law


Cybercrime creates unique challenges for the reactive model of crime control that has been predominant for approximately the last century and a half. That model makes certain assumptions about crime, which derive from characteristics of real-world crime. These assumptions do not hold for cybercrime, so the reactive model is not an appropriate means of dealing with online crime. The article explains how modified principles of criminal law can be utilized to implement a new, non-reactive model which can deal effectively with cybercrime. This model of distributed security emphasizes prevention, rather than reaction, which is achieved by holding citizens liable for their failure to prevent cybercrime.

Keywords: Criminal law, cybercrime, law enforcement, complicity, assumption of risk

JEL Classification: K10, K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Brenner, Susan W., Toward a Criminal Law for Cyberspace: Distributed Security. Boston University Journal of Science & Technology Law, Vol. 10, No. 2, 2004. Available at SSRN:

Susan W. Brenner (Contact Author)

University of Dayton - School of Law ( email )

300 College Park
Dayton, OH 45469
United States
937-229-2929 (Phone)
937-229-2469 (Fax)

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