Computer Surveillance Term Paper

Pages: 19 (4976 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Education - Computers

Computer Surveillance: Qualitative Attempt to Conceptualize Crime in the 21st Century

Purpose/Objectives/Theoretical Framework

Summary of Remaining Chapters

Computer Crime in a Digital Age

The Impact of the Net on Computer Surveillance

Networked Surveillance

Electronic Surveillance in the Workplace

Deterring Crime

Deterrance and Encryption Technology

Survey Population/Description of the Subject

Hypothesis Evaluation

The primary focus of this study is a qualitative exploration of the changing nature of crime related to computer surveillance. Specifically the aim of the study is to examine how advances in technology have facilitated computer crimes affecting both consumers and corporations. The extent to which computer surveillance crimes are becoming more insidious is explored, as well as any methods currently in use for deterring crime.

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The author explores the nature of computer crime and surveillance in a comprehensive literature review, and combines the results of this examination with the information gained from surveying populations affected by computer surveillance. The conclusion of the study finds that the nature of crime is in fact changing in the face of technological advances. The author concludes that though criminal activity is becoming more prevalent and problematic thanks to advances in surveillance, there still exist few solutions and statistical reports with regard to deterring criminal activity.


Computer crime is on the rise thanks to the advent of modern technology. As technology becomes increasingly sophisticated criminals are more able to facilitate devastating actions at the press of a button.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Computer Surveillance Assignment

The aim of this research paper is to examine the changing nature of crime and discover the impact consumer surveillance has on consumers and businesses alike. The qualitative study proposed will also examine the extent to which advanced technologies are being exploited and used by criminals to facilitate illicit activity.

In addition to this, it will examine the extent to which businesses and consumers must increasingly face and be weary of illicit computer activities, and describe the impact such criminal activity has on privacy and personal interests.

Background of the Problem

Research suggests that the problem of computer surveillance is rapidly growing and should be considered a primary concern among governments internationally in the next several years (Shelley, 1998; Lyon, 2002; Campbell & Carson, 2002; Wibler, 2003). Despite the rise in criminal activity directly associated with computer surveillance, little progress has been made in the way of protecting consumers and businesses from crime resulting from computer surveillance.


Trends have developed that go hand in hand with the advent of modern technology. As technology has afforded consumers and businesses the luxury of conducting business over the web, so too has it afforded criminals the opportunity to use computer surveillance to conduct more insidious and impacting crimes. Despite this, relatively few studies have actually been conducted that examine computer surveillance from a point of the changing nature of crime, with the intent of examining what if any methods can be developed to halt this pattern and invasion of privacy. This study will in part fill a void in relation to the research that has been conducted in this area.

Purpose/Objectives/Theoretical Framework

Better access to and control of access to communications technology is a growing trend in modern society, and with the advent of technological advances comes the need to discover better methods for protecting consumer and business privacy and information.

The aim of this thesis is a consideration of current theoretical approaches to computer surveillance in an attempt to understand the nature and extent of computer surveillance both in the workplace and in business (Shelley, 1998).

Computer surveillance will also be examined from the perspective of criminal activity and privacy rights.

A primary objective of the paper will be to assess changes in the nature of monitoring in recent years in addition to the impact computer surveillance has had vs. traditional surveillance methods. A qualitative study will be conducted in order to uncover trends and the implications of advanced technological incentives on computer surveillance activity. A qualitative study is most appropriate with regard to this subject, as an empirical or experimental examination would be impossible given the few available resources allocated to conducting a project of this scope. In addition, at this time there is limited information with regard to computer surveillance and statistics, due in part to a lack of cooperation between law enforcement agencies and technology firms who are consistently in competition to outperform one another (Shelley, 1998).

Research Hypothesis

The argument presented is that electronic surveillance has become more insidious in recent years, and the nature of crime is changing as a result.

Second to this, the researcher hypothesizes that as time progresses, the results of surveillance without appropriate checks and balances will be negative and severely impacting, both for individuals and corporations alike.

The study will seek to prove the point that a need currently exists for additional studies focusing on the impact of electronic surveillance on individual outcomes and productivity. Both workplace and consumer monitoring will be examined to determine complementary factors that might exist between the two.

Several forms of computer monitoring are common, including keystroke monitoring, electronic mail monitoring, entry and exit into buildings using smart cards and even product scanning systems which provide information about consumer purchases and merchandise (Bryant, 1995). For purposes of this study, a broad survey of computer surveillance techniques will be utilized.


The author acknowledges that this study is limited in scope because of its qualitative nature and the current lack of information and statistics available with regard to computer surveillance. The author will attempt to overcome these limitations by surveying as broad a selection of research material available with regard to computer surveillance, and not limiting the study to one form or another of computer surveillance. This will help the researcher gather as much information as possible regarding the changing nature of computer surveillance crimes.

Summary of Remaining Chapters

Following this section, the paper will explore the research available with regard to computer surveillance, then discourse on the methodology used to collect additional information for purposes of this study, and subsequently draw conclusions from and discuss the data collected.

Literature Review


Whereas crime was once a local and regional matter, today crime and corruption are no longer "limited by geographic boundaries" and technology has in essence "redefined the nature of crime" (Shelley, 1998, p. 605). Crime exists in the form of computer surveillance, where access is controlled "by corporations that serve computer and telecommunications networks" and criminals that invade privacy pose "grave threats to the integrity of the world financial system, undermine the ability of states to protect their citizens, and are themselves a major threat to human rights" (Shelley, 1998, p. 605).

One of the problems of computer crime is that jurisdiction can't be exercised if the individual committing the crime has "no identity other than a computer network, which thanks to technologically innovation in the 21st century is not feasible" (Shelley, 1998, p. 605). Legal and law enforcement agencies have few effective and efficient methods for deterring cyber-criminals (Shelley, 1998).

Computer Crime in a Digital Age

The capacity of computer criminals to corrupt and undermine the quality of life of "millions of the world's citizens" through technology is virtually limitless (Shelley, 1998, p. 605). In fact, many citizens have gone as far as rendering themselves defenseless in the age of technology (Shelley, 1998). Facilitating interest in computer crimes are wire transfer, faxes and internet connections that move money (Shelley, 1998). Crime via computer can victimize virtually anyone. The primary form of criminal activity engaged in via computers is surveillance. Surveillance can be used to monitor keystrokes actions, record personal data and deter financials and other capital (Lyon, 2002; Shelley, 1998).

According to officials from the U.S. Department of Justice, "sophisticated computer techniques permit thieves to steal $10 billion annually from financial institutions" (Shelley, 1998, p. 605). International financial fraud is perpetuated through computer crime (Shelley, 1998).

How do computer criminals achieve such devastation? They often pose as legitimate businesses in search of large profits in highly competitive global markets (Shelley, 1998).

Prior to the advent of computer technology capital "had to be physically moved and valuables weren't easily traceable" (Shelley, 1998, p. 605). Now money flows through banks via wire transfers in minutes, thus larger amounts of transactions are occurring daily and increasing the risk for problematic encounters (Shelley, 1998). Criminal groups can use a variety of techniques "including transferring wires through several different countries" in order to cause difficulty for clients attempting to trace funds (Shelley, 1998, p. 605).

The Impact of the Net on Computer Surveillance

Thanks to modern technology and new advances on the web, each and every time a user logs onto the Internet an opportunity arises for computer surveillance. The use of the internet as a form of information exchange has rapidly expanded in recent years. According to Lyon (2002) using surveillance technology, anyone can track each and every click of the mouse, survey the web sites consumers visit and read personal email messages (p. 345). Surveillance technology also allows hackers and criminals… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Computer Surveillance" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Computer Surveillance.  (2004, October 5).  Retrieved October 26, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Computer Surveillance."  5 October 2004.  Web.  26 October 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Computer Surveillance."  October 5, 2004.  Accessed October 26, 2021.