An earlier version of this paper was presented at the annual meetings of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences on March 19, 1986, in Orlando, Florida. This research was funded in part by a grant from the Division of Sponsored Research, University of Florida. The authors wish to thank Ronald L. Akers, Donna Bishop, Jay BloomBecker, Pamela Richards, Charles W. Thomas, and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on drafts of this paper.
THE PROCESS OF CRIMINALIZATION: THE CASE OF COMPUTER CRIME LAWS*
Article first published online: 7 MAR 2006
Volume 26, Issue 1, pages 101–126, February 1988
How to Cite
HOLLINGER, R. C. and LANZA-KADUCE, L. (1988), THE PROCESS OF CRIMINALIZATION: THE CASE OF COMPUTER CRIME LAWS. Criminology, 26: 101–126. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1988.tb00834.x
Richard C. Hollinger is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Florida and holds a joint appointment in the Center for Studies in Criminology and Law. He is the author of Theft By Employees (with J.P. Clark). His research has been focused on various forms of occupational crime and deviance in the workplace.
Lonn Lanza-Kaduce is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Florida. He also holds a joint appointment in the Center for Studies in Criminology and Law. His recent research has examined privatization of prisons and the phenomenon of drunken driving.
- Issue published online: 7 MAR 2006
- Article first published online: 7 MAR 2006
Scholars are rarely afforded contemporary opportunities to study the formation of criminal law. This paper reviews state and federal efforts to criminalize various forms of computer abuse. The analysis indicates that there was neither organized opposition to nor significant interest group involvement in computer crime enactments. Individual reformers included computer crime “experts” and legislators rather than “moral entrepreneurs.” The media were crucial to the criminalization, in that they provided both data on the incidence of computer crime and also helped to define society's response to the perceived problem. The paper concludes that the criminalization of computer abuse can be interpreted as a symbolic endeavor to educate and socialize a new generation of computer users by extending traditional definitions of property and privacy.