A spreading disease:Online fraud is the great legal challenge of the early 21st century, says John Cooper QC

Out today. My piece in New Law Journal. ‘Online Fraud: The great legal challenge of the early 21st Century’.

I have name checked the impressive in my piece today in New Law Journal on Cybercrime.

This Issue is too important for me not to wholesale reblog a from New Law Journal where I fortunately got hold of the Article.

( You ONLY get this through [Legal] Campaign Twitter.#SaveUKJustice which is why all Law Students, Lawyers and Non Lawyers concerned about our failing CJS should get onto  the Forum and join in)


Thanks to John Cooper QC and New Law Journal for making  Article accessible ,people can read it, Lawyers and Non Lawyers and make [informed] Commentary.



A spreading disease

Thu, 25/09/2014 – 15:41 — daniellemunroe
The extent of online fraud has become so significant that only a few weeks ago, the Police Commissioner for the City of London, Adrian Leppard, declared that individuals needed to take more responsibility for online security because, put simply, the police cannot cope. He called for a national campaign to raise awareness as to the dangers both individuals and corporations face from this enormous threat.

Impact of online fraud

We should be under no illusion as to the impact of this fraud upon the national economy, where it is estimated to cost the UK more than £50bn every year with crimes ranging from investment fraud schemes to the hacking of businesses to obtain that most valuable of commodities, personal data.

In fact, the full extent of the damage being done to business may be significantly underestimated, in that some entities which depend upon public trust in their security are not reporting security breaches to the law enforcement authorities and simply compensating clients to mitigate against potentially devastating publicity. The Times has also exposed that nearly four million bank and credit card frauds were omitted from statistics for England and Wales, with an estimate by the Office of National Statistics revealing that approximately one in seven people are defrauded by cybercrime every minute.

In fact, the new Attorney General, Jeremy Wright QC, referred in his recent speech at a crime symposium in Cambridge to the “staggering growth” of information in cyber space which has led to criminal gangs targeting individual’s details to defraud bank accounts and clone credit cards

A viral crime

Leppard highlighted that one of the problems with detecting cybercrime is that much of the instigation of the offence takes place overseas and as a result the law provides the police with very little to overcome the jurisdictional problems. He also stressed that the police simply do not have the capacity to tackle this spreading disease of a crime.

The analogy of a disease is apt and if this were a bacterially viral problem then the lack of ability of our law enforcement agencies to deal with it would be considered a national threat requiring immediate treatment.

But as it is, the police seem to be accepting that they cannot cope. This is no surprise for anyone who has reported identity theft to the police when the crime is being orchestrated overseas. We are given a crime number and sent on our way. The fact that it has been like this for over three years if not more, makes it surprising that it is only now that some voices are raised, expressing the dangerous threat which cybercrime brings to every section of society, from the vulnerable pensioner targeted about a fake lottery ticket to the multi-billion pound corporation.

“If this were a bacterially viral problem then the lack of ability of our law enforcement agencies to deal with it would be considered a national threat requiring immediate treatment”

Taking responsibility

Of course, we should not just accept Leppard’s observation that the police cannot cope, and in an age increasingly driven by online activity on the internet, the government, law enforcement agencies and legislators cannot shed their responsibility by declaring impotence.

Yet having acknowledged that, Leppard did make a valid point when he urged us all to take some responsibility for our cyber security.

There are systems and processes easily obtainable and taught that can mitigate the risks. If the recent discussion has any immediate impact it can shatter our complacency. At a recent seminar I delivered at the law firm Slater & Gordon, we demonstrated in real time how easily those with the necessary skills could hack into a seminar attendee’s e-mail and, equally simply, demonstrated how it could be prevented both technically and by a series of protocols instilled into working practices and used as a mantra.

The public are becoming more aware of the threat of cybercrime by the day and will, I am sure be demanding a new kite mark from businesses based upon trust that they have an effective cyber security policy. They will demand that data systems are secure and that personal information is safe.

This is the first great legal challenge of the early 21st century. Let’s begin by accepting it.

John Cooper QC, 25 Bedford Row. John is a consultant in cybercrime prevention (jcooperqc@25bedfordrow.com [1])
Issue: Vol 164, Issue 7623 [2]
John Cooper QC [3]
Online fraud is the great legal challenge of the early 21st century, says John Cooper QC

Opinion [4]
Fraud [5]
Source URL: http://www.newlawjournal.co.uk/nlj/content/spreading-disease
[1] mailto:jcooperqc@25bedfordrow.com
[2] http://www.newlawjournal.co.uk/nlj/issuearticles/7623
[3] http://www.newlawjournal.co.uk/nlj/biographies/john-cooper-qc
[4] http://www.newlawjournal.co.uk/nlj/category/type/opinion
[5] http://www.newlawjournal.co.uk/nlj/category/topic/fraud

This entry was posted in Crime, criminal defence lawyers, Cybercrime, Evidence the Law of Evidence and Police Investigation and gathering of Evidence, Evidence: Police gathering, Fraud Law, John Cooper QC, Juristictions, Law Student, Online Fraud, Police, Slater and Gordon and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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