The use of electronic surveillance in conducting criminal investigations on the internet

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Cybercrime undoubtedly threatens the global growth and future of the Internet. Governments cannot ignore the abuse of the Internet and must address cybercrime that includes terrorism. Many governments have elected to utilise electronic surveillance as an investigatory method in addressing the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of crime in an electronic medium such as the Internet. Although the use of surveillance may not be a new investigatory method, surveillance on the Internet differs from surveillance conducted in the physical world. It is for this reason that the use of electronic surveillance has evoked a lot of debate. In this chapter, the author attempts to address the justifiability of the use of electronic surveillance in criminal investigations on the Internet and to counteract some of the criticism leveled against electronic surveillance without negating the risks inherent to electronic surveillance. The emphasis in this chapter will, from a global perspective, primarily be on the legal regulation of the use of Internet surveillance as an investigatory method bearing in mind that surveillance is made possible by means of technology. Surveillance technology is ever-evolving and allows increasingly for non-obvious but invasive technological access to information of Internet users. Criminal and intelligence investigations in most countries face the same dilemma: legal regulation of surveillance technology is required to allow the pursuit of justice whilst maintaining a human rights culture and to prevent governments becoming police states with all Internet users seen as guilty until proven innocent. It is a dilemma that requires all stake-holders to carefully monitor the surveillance methods employed in criminal and intelligence investigations conducted on the Internet.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics
PublisherWorld Scientific Publishing Co.
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9789812837042
ISBN (Print)9812837035, 9789812837035
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Social Sciences


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