The World Wide Web and Law Enforcement

The World Wide Web and Law Enforcement

Richard A. Halapin (Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA)
Copyright: © 2002 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-931777-16-2.ch014


The World Wide Web has exhibited the most explosive growth of any technology ever invented. Two events occurring in the 1992-93 period provided the foundation. First was the decision by Congress to open the Internet to commercial exploitation. The second was the adaptation of hypertext concepts to the Internet, which led to the Web. Fueled by commercial exploitation, the Web grew in just 6 years, to over 40 million linked computers. Time to such maturity for older communication technologies was measured in decades. The growth has “left in the dust” the development of commercial, civil, and criminal law needed to secure the social benefits of Web technology. Similarly, “Law Enforcement” has been unable to adapt to the Web over such a short period. While Congress struggles with a new “contract law” for Web commercial transactions, national awareness is growing about undesirable consequences of Web technology. Fraud, pornography, and violence, are exposing the threat potential of the Web. It is clear that “Law Enforcement” must plan for and take action to meet these potential threats. Methods and procedures for countering threats require that law enforcement officials understand the mechanisms of the Web along all links from user to resource. These officials must also advise legislative bodies on their enforcement needs during “catch-up” with the Web.

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