New Wine in Old Bottles: Alternative Narratives of Cybercrime and Criminal Justice?

Chrisje Brants, Derek Johnson, Tim J Wilson

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This special issue contains four articles by colleagues researching police investigations on The TOR-network and has benefited from discussions with Dutch, Swedish and Norwegian colleagues in the same research project.1 TOR is probably the most popular internet browser and location of hidden services available in anonymous communication networks (ACN), more often referred to in the media as the ‘dark web’. We have not, however, framed our research findings within an overarching narrative that the ‘digital’ or ‘post-digital’ age is so transformative or disruptive that everything related to cybercrime may have to change or be invented anew—after all, cybercrime is still crime and cyber policing is still policing and as such is subject to the legal restraints (and resulting dilemmas) with regard to how to balance the individual right to be free from state interference with the need for (online) security and social safety. At the same time, there are several issues that make crime on the dark web a particularly intractable problem and compound its policing: the sheer volume of offences, the transnational nature of cybercrime and concomitant problems of jurisdiction, the degree of anonymity afforded to users of TOR, the potential for infringement of fundamental rights inherent in policing the internet and the dark web in particular.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-406
Number of pages4
JournalThe Journal of Criminal Law
Issue number5
Early online date24 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


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