Cybersecurity Legislation

Cybersecurity Legislation

Christopher Thomas Anglim (University of the District of Columbia, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9715-5.ch027
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This entry discusses the role of legislation governing cybersecurity and how this legislation seeks to control criminal activity on the dark web. As explained throughout this encyclopedia, the dark web consists of internet services that are accessible anonymously using “the onion router” (TOR). There has been a concentrated effort in recent years for federal legislation in the United States to be enacted to control the widespread criminal behavior that occurs on the dark web, which includes the sale of drugs, illegal weapons, and child pornography. Legislation, as the term is used in this work, refers to law enacted by a legislative body such as the US Congress. The article considers both existing relevant statutory law and proposed legislation on the local, state/provincial, and federal/national level. The focus will be on US federal legislation; however, the article will also consider US state and local legislation, the legislation from other nations, and international legislation.
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Nations throughout the world use cyberspace legislation to protect their cybersecurity and control criminal activity on the Dark Web. The Dark Web consists of underground websites and databases that are accessible anonymously using “The Onion Router” (TOR). Development of the technology operating TOR has frequently been attributed to the US Naval Research Laboratory. TOR protects the user’s identity by routing ordinary location services and Internet Protocols (IPs) through several different nations. TOR is an example of a darknet, which is a closed, private network that operates on the more conventional Internet Protocols. Darknets bypass the TCP/IP to ensure anonymous, essentially untraceable global networks.

The US government had intended to use TOR to provide the means for activists in nations with repressive governments to communicate with each other, without their government becoming aware of their activities. TOR has, however, become a form of contemporary technology that provides criminals with swift and often anonymous means to move funds and goods to enrich themselves through a wide variety of illegal activities such as hosting malware, selling illicit drugs, disseminating child pornography, arranging for contract killings, conducting terrorist acts, and laundering money.

This chapter explains the role of the legislature on all levels in controlling criminal behavior on the Dark Web, including the purpose of cybersecurity legislation, different approaches legislation, and the benefits and limitations of the legislative approach. In the United States, Congress continues to consider federal legislation intended to control the widespread criminal behavior that occurs on the Dark Web, such as the sale and distribution of drugs, illegal weapons, and child pornography. This chapter begins with an introduction that explains the purpose behind legislation. This followed by the Background section, which provides an overview on the topic of Legislation and the Dark Web, the purpose of such Legislation. Because this topic involves the balancing of basic rights and duties, the section also discusses the constitutional issues involved. Much of the chapter deals with Congressional action to date on the Dark Web and what Congress still needs to do on this topic. The Chapter then discusses legislative action taken on the state level, the international level, and legislative action that other nations have taken. The chapter concludes with recommendations for creating a legislative regime that seeks to both control criminal behavior on the Dark Web and ensure that the Dark Web is available for those who use need it for legitimate purposes.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Cyber-Vulnerabilities: A flaw in a computer system that can make the system vulnerable to attack. A cyber-vulnerability may also refer to any type of weakness in a computer system itself, in a set of procedures, or in anything that leaves information security exposed to a threat.

Congress: A national legislative body, especially that of the US. The US Congress, which meets at the Capitol in Washington DC, was established by the Constitution of 1787.It is composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Dark Web: The deep is a small part of the deep web that has been intentionally hidden and is inaccessible through ordinary web browsers. Internet users are unable to access this portion of the web without using browsers dedicated to providing absolute anonymity to users. The dark web has become a haven for criminal activity.

Legislation: Law enacted by a legislature.

Deep Web: The part of the web not a part of the surface web. It includes content inaccessible through the use of a search engine. These include private servers that only those with permission may access, intranets utilized by a variety of organizations, or even typical social media pages that users wish to keep concealed from the general public.

Cybersecurity: The state of being protected against the criminal or unauthorized use of electronic data, or the measures taken to achieve this.

Surface Web: Web content that can be indexed by ordinary search engines such a Google or Yahoo.

Cyberspace: The domain of the worldwide technology environment.

Legislature: A body of individual persons empowered to legislate; specifically, an organized body authorized to make laws for a political entity such as a nation, state or province, or a city.

Cybersafety: Is the safe and responsible use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). NetSafe's approach to cybersafety is founded on: Maintaining a positive approach about the many benefits brought by technologies. Encouraging the public to identify the risks associated with ICT.

Cybercrime: Any criminal action perpetrated primarily through the use of a computer.

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