Year

2009

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Faculty of Law

Abstract

Over the past half of a century, international society, particularly across the industrially developed world, has experienced an unprecedented technological transformation. The ubiquity of digital technology and its smooth integration with human activities has brought tremendous advantages. Simultaneously, diverse new activities called ‘cybercrimes’ have emerged in association with this technological revolution. Legal scholars have addressed these crimes and delivered initially controversial arguments regarding the adequacy of the traditional substantive and procedural laws to effectively criminalise and deal with them. Many developed countries, such as Australia and the USA, responded to the problem of cybercrime in a variety of ways. By contrast, in Jordan, there is no comprehensive law addressing cybercrime but a handful of legislative provisions that were originally enacted to protect physical objects. This study is focused on Jordan and its need for law reform. Australia and the United States were selected for comparative study because they are already well advanced in their experiences of and in their legal responses to cybercrimes, thus providing benchmarks for Jordanian developments. In 2001, Australia enacted a comprehensive law, the Cybercrime Act 2001, and established the Australian High-Tech Crime Centre. The USA enacted its Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) 1984. Jordan has long understood the importance of Information Technology (IT) as a key element to improve the quality of life of its people. The Electronic Transaction Act 2001 and Telecommunications Law 1995 demonstrate this. It also established a Computer Crime Unit as a part of the Public Security Directorate to investigate cybercrime and to provide laboratory services in the inspection and analysis of digital evidence. However, Jordan’s lack of cybercrime legislation is problematic because cybercrimes are borderless crimes. Jordan’s lack can influence the rest of the world by creating, for instance, jurisdictional havens. The novelty of cybercrime challenges the existing Jordanian models of law enforcement investigations. Traditional laws are either too narrow or inappropriate to address all the forms of cybercrimes and deal with search and seizure of digital evidence in adequately. This thesis examines several major themes associated with cybercrime investigation confronted by Jordanian law enforcement officers executing searches and seizures of computers. It concentrates on the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of traditional Jordanian laws in coping with cybercrime investigations. It critically examines and compares the procedures of search and seizure of computers in Australia and the USA. The thesis aims to contribute to the streamlining and strengthening of search and seizure procedures in Jordanian cybercrime investigations.

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