Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cybercrime, extradition, and ... Julian Assange?

Topic - Cybercrime is a transnational issue that makes extradition exceedingly difficult. Using the Wikileaks case, discuss whether or not the breach of the U.S. classified network warrants the extradition and trial of Wikileaks' founder Julian Assange in the United States.

The transnational nature of more traditional cybercrime, like Chinese “economic cyber espionage” (McConnell et al, 2012) or Russian hackers (Capo, 2009) means that international boundaries are crossed, placing attackers and victims in entirely different jurisdictions. Even if the crime committed against the victim is also a crime in the locale of the attacker, and even if the involved law enforcement agencies are willing to work together, then investigation, extradition, and prosecution may still stall out due to political or diplomatic issues.

The WikiLeaks case is even murkier water, because the victim in this case, the United States Government, has been unable to decide if Assange has actually committed a crime. There are solid arguments to be made justifying the actions of WikiLeaks as just another journalist publishing the information turned over by just another whistleblower, which is a stance that Assange hosts about himself. As of the end of 2010, the federal government had never attempted a prosecution of journalist, nor had a successful conviction been had of a leak recipient. (Savage, 2010)

Since it was a non-American organization run by a non-American merely publishing leaked information, I find it hard to believe that any crime under American jurisdiction could have occurred. How the information was leaked is a crime, and one that is currently being tried, but not from the recipient.

Capo. (December 29, 2009) Russian Mafia Linked To Hacking. Mafia Today. Retrieved 12 October 2012 from: http://mafiatoday.com/other-mafia-orgs/russian-mafia-linked-to-hacking/

McConnell, M., Chertoff, M. & Lynn, W. (January 27, 2012) China’s Cyber Thievery Is National Policy - And Must Be Challenged. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 5 October 2012 from: http://www.boozallen.com/media/file/WSJ-China-OpEd.pdf

Savage, C. (December 7, 2010). U.S. Prosecutors Study WikiLeaks Prosecution. The New York Times. Retrieved 12 October 2012 from: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/08/world/08leak.html

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