IDP2014 (VII). Cybercrime

Notes from the 10th Internet, Law and Politics Congress: A decade of transformations, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on 3-4 July 2014. More notes on this event: idp2014.

Moderator: María José Pifarré de Moner, Lecturer, School of Law and Political Science (UOC).

Sexting and sexual victimization online: prevalence and factors of risk among adults
Manuel Gámez-Guadix, Universidad de Deusto; Erika Borrajo, Universidad de Deusto; Carmen Almendros, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid; Esther Calvete, Universidad de Deusto

Sexting stands for the creation and sharing of sexual content through the Internet. Online sexual victimization differs from sexting in that the later is not a volunteer action.

We believe that both practices are related, as the ones participating in sexting are more exposed to blackmailing and online sexual violence.

A survey was carried on with +800 people (2/3 women). Findings showed that at least 66.8% where involved in sexting practices (e.g. sending photos of oneself with nudity), with no differences of genre, and especially prevalent among people under 44 y.o., though it reaches people until 60y.o. And a significant relationship was found between sexting and online sexual violence.

Violence in dating through new technologies: prevalence, context and relationship with violence offline
Erika Borrajo, Universidad de Deusto; Manuel Gámez-Guadix, Universidad de Deusto; Esther Calvete, Universidad de Deusto

We believe there is a parallelism between bullying and cyberbullying and (offline) violence in dating and online violence in dating: threats, controlling and surveillance actions, etc.

There is an open debate whether this kind of violence is independent from “traditional” gender violence or it is another kind of this violence.

Surveys showed that control and surveillance is the most common practice in online dating violence, by means of texting applications, stealing passwords, etc. Reasons range from jealousy, kidding, reciprocity (“I do that to him/her because he/she does that to me”), etc. Usually men are more victims than women in this issue. There is a slight relationship between physical or psychological violence with online dating violence, but they have different nature and seem different practices.

These practices are bidirectional and are often seen as not important, a “just kidding” behaviours or “just a game”.

Civilian Direct Participation In Cyber Hostilities
François Delerue, Ph.D. researcher in International Law at the European University Institute.

Cyber warfare is the recourse to force using Internet and computer technology.

The legal regime of cyber warfare dates from 1945 (Jus contra bellum, UN charter), and 1949 (Jus in bello, Geneva Conventions), which is a mostly unsuitable framework, being the main problem that civilians can not be distinguished or left aside from combatants in cyber warfare.

Civilians should be left aside from combat unless they have direct participation in hostilities. What are the elements of direct participation in hostilities:

  • Threshold of harm.
  • Direct causation.
  • Belligerent nexus.
  • Temporal scope of the participation.
  • Restraint on the use of force.

Specific issues on cyber warfare:

  • The remote participation of civilians.
  • Te participation of unaware civilians.

Cyber warfare challenges the notion of direct participation in hostilities.


Q: how do you thing the right to be forgotten can affect this behaviours? Erika Borrajo: as a psychologist, it is important to stress the importance of some content they uploaded can now be erased from the Internet, as people change and may want not to be reminded of the past. The problem with the Internet is that victims are constantly re-victimized because their past actions haunt them in the present.

Q: is there any categorization for cyberwarfare on harms such as killing, wounding damage, etc. as it happens in offline warfare? François Delerue: in current legislation, there is not, so we still have to use killing or wounding as harms of the use of force.

Maria José Pifarré: do you believe the Internet has caused a shift from physical to psychological violence? (thus reducing physical violence, but making it more invisible) Erica Borrajo: in dating there does not seem to be a difference, and evidence shows that women are still more violent than men (though men are more harmful when violent).


10th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2014)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2014) “IDP2014 (VII). Cybercrime” In ICTlogy, #130, July 2014. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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