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Int. J. Emerg. Sci.

, 2(2), 204-209, June 2012

ISSN: 2222-4254 IJES

Transnational Crimes And Information Technologies

Ercan Ekmekcioglu
Kyrgyzstan Turkey Manas University, Str.Manas 56, 720044, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Abstract. Transnational crimes have become rampant in the wake of globalization and technological advancement. The crimes are generally carried out by organized crime groups and individuals, who are highly sophisticated, well coordinated and technologically conscious. The groups themselves are so amorphous and cannot be easily identified. Present, emerging and future development in the information and communication technology is an essential tool in detecting, investigating, deterring and preventing these crimes. Significant steps have been made in this regard, and tracking and identifying criminals has become much easier that it was a decade ago. However, ethical and legal suitability of a number of these techniques have been raised, mainly revolving around rights to privacy and likelihood of abuse. Secondly, the transnational crimes too take advantage of the very technology to coordinate and evade justice. Thirdly, there has been lots of politicization of ICT policy counter-measures; stakeholders have argued that anti-privacy measures like consolidating a common bio-data base are imposition of American interest on global fraternity. As ICT progresses, there is a need to intensify regional participation in combating transnational crimes and to make compromise on some of the legal and ethical issues that hinder effective use of technology to combat the crimes.
Keywords: Transnational Crimes, Information and Communication Technology, Privacy.



In the wake of globalization and increased multinational dealings and exchanges, transnational crimes have become a key concern to members of the international fraternity, not only at the national level but also at the regional level. Even more challenging is that those involved in organizing and execution of transnational crime are so sophisticated and technology conscious, that they tighten their tactical and technological response to measures that are put in place to combat against their activities. In a bid to contain such crimes, there has been increased regional development and cooperation among states, at least to consolidate and coordinate policy and related combat measures. More importantly, there has been emphasis in developing, consolidating and making use of the existent and emerging information technologies to combat the crimes. This paper argues that although there is


Ercan Ekmekcioglu

increasing regional development and use of information technology in response to transnational crimes, the developments so far achieved still way far from containing the transnational crimes, partly due to politicization of the concept of regional response and partly due to complex nature of the transnational crimes.


Transnational crimes have been defined as those crimes pose potential or actual impact across national borders [1]. As such, the crimes do not have to be interstate (carried out across the country borders), but can also be intra-state, in which case the crime is carried out within the territorial borders of one state but the crime itself or its impact eventually and significantly infringes on the fundamental interest and values of other states or the larger international community. Some of the widely condemned transnational crimes include terrorism and related offences, human trafficking, smuggling (trafficking of goods, including arms and illicit drugs), sex slavery and torture. It has been noted with great concern that the individuals and groups involved in organizing, coordinating and execution of multinational crimes operate in very complex structures and syndicates at all levels the find relevant for their activities: nationally, regionally and globally [2]. They create intricate links and coordination systems at all these levels, a move calculated at beating the response mechanisms put in place to subdue them. The complex structure has been likened to a large corporate that operates under very rigid and meticulous regulatory framework and whose members are so determined to forge a head that they cannot take a failure or a loss for any answer [3]. Worse still, the individuals and groups are gradually forming a tendency of collaborating with one another at different territorial levels, both in the same crime and across different crime activities; a shift from the past when they tended to exhibit competition against one another and when their actions were much localized [4]. This is particularly the case with those involved in crimes such as smuggling of goods, terrorism, money laundering, piracy, and drug. Further, they tend to be alive to the value of technology in their operations-how technology may enable them execute their dealings and how the same technology may be used to counter them. They have therefore gone high-tech: employing the use of the use of most advanced technological developments and internet for their coordination (including settling payments, demanding ransoms or extortion) ([2]; [5]).


Employment of Communication and Information Technologies (ICT) has been of key vale to detecting, investigating, mitigating and preventing transnational crimes.


International Journal of Emerging Sciences, 2(2), 204-209, June 2012

This is partly because the transnational criminals and their accessories, particularly those involved in organized crimes, have largely resorted to using high technology in their operations. Currently various research institutes, high-tech corporations, national security teams, military officials, the law enforcement officers and Criminologists are jointly working towards facilitating and developing high-tech ICT crime combating-mechanisms. This section explores the interplay between transnational crimes and development in ICT, as employed by both the criminals and the nations involved. The use of internet and wireless communications has in the past promoted anonymous communications commonly used to carry out transnational crimes, to extort money from victims, ask ransoms and to instill fear calculated to bar crime reporting or adducing court evidence [6]. Recent advancement in ICT modern technology is gradually yielding a solution to this. The modern computers using chips such as Pentium III and IV can now be traced using chips-inbuilt serial numbers and the IP address [7]. This contributes to identifying the particulars computer used, the location and the time of committing the computer assisted crime. However, the operator of the computer may not be directly identified under this system. Besides, it only helps in investigating either cyber crimes or computer assisted crimes yet there are myriads of transnational crimes. Automated data matching techniques and biometric data bases are gradually being developed across the world. These in conjunction with biometric identification technology would help identify an individual [7]. Biometric identification technology makes use of biological features such as retinal recognition, fingerprints, palm recognition and voice testing to accurately identify individuals. Fingerprinting using scanning technology is being used both in accurate capturing of the fingerprints and entering finger print data into the database. These efforts are quite useful in controlling multinational crimes, more so for the suspects who have already been blacklisted and those who used to travel under faked details (owing to technological inadequacies in matching their real details to those presented by them. Extensive and installation of Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV) surveillance public places, closed points and commercial areas has also been of use in timely detecting and deterring certain crimes. CCTV is a technology which record and objects images at in locations of focus [8]. Once collected, the images are sent to a monitor, recorded as a digital data or as a video tape and then can be available as digital information. CCTVS help in countering the unpredictable and rampant nature of transnational crimes. It makes it possible to retrieve the data for review even later, should the need arises .this is even useful in revealing the mysterious dealings of the transnational criminal suspects [9]. Much as technology help in combating transnational crimes, it also benefits the perpetrators. Using phones and internet (as shown above), it easier for the organizations and individuals involved in the syndicate to contact one another more effectively, plan and strategize for the activities and get the plan accomplished [10]. This makes crime perpetration, modification and development as well as evasion of counter mechanisms much easier. The criminals are equally advancing in technology and are currently said to be forming much more and lager botnets that can be able to penetrate the malware [5]. 206

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In response, there has been a call to set up a wide scope repository for tracking computers used, specific location and the individual users. In this regards, a centralized database with the hackers details, their operation method and other relevant data would be useful. In coordination with biometric data, this would be possible as long as the network providers and computer making corporations agree to this and agree to facilitate soft-ware structures that will ensure this. The functioning of such data base has been found to be quite useful in the US where the federal government established Narcotic Information Network (NIN) [5]. It would be particularly useful in tracking most computer assisted financial crimes especially with regards to investigations. By connecting clues as to the jurisdiction sources and destinations, and then relating the detectives assigned, organized crimes specially those involving online money transfer would be put to control.


The increased prevalence, dangers and threats of multinational crimes, more so terrorism has sparked increased regional response in employing ICT measures calculated to deter the crimes. This is more so with the European community the and to some extent ASEAN. Nevertheless, these movers have encountered political, legal and ethical concerns. To contain transnational crimes, the EU has gone to the extent of passing a directive that not only allow, but also calls for data retention by the member states [11]. Under a law passed by EU parliament in December14, 2005, the internet service providers and all other communication service providers are required, as a matter of law, to retain all the data coming from communication traffic for some duration of time and to avail the same to police if required. This legislation received sharp criticism from human rights organizations, led by Privacy International that described the law to be inconsistent with the privacy protection regime of the EU, to the extent that it allows access to an individuals history of communications. They argued that Adopting this Directive would cause an irreversible shift in civil liberties within the European Union. It will adversely affect consumer rights throughout Europe. And it will generate an unprecedented obstacle to the global competitiveness of European industry. [12]. Further, it was argued that the law derogates from privacy rights under vague and broad terms that are susceptible to abuse [13]. Some stakeholders have viewed EU efforts as a response to American own security interest, thereby laundering and imposition of American policies to the international fraternity [13]. ASEAN Regional Forum, a regional organization for Asia and Pacific region has raised lots of concern on transnational crime, led by the US. Some of its members include Australia, Canada and a number of East Asian countries including China, India, Indonesia, Japan and United States has also been calling for


International Journal of Emerging Sciences, 2(2), 204-209, June 2012

information technology policy framework to combat transnational crimes. However, it has not developed any official ICT policy with regards to transnational crimes. Since the 2001 terrorist attack (9/11) on the US, the United States has been on the fore front of advocating for surveillance communication by security agencies. The US has been pushing even the European Union, which is quickly evolving into a supranational body in the European continent, to adopt similar measures [14-16]. She has also been advocating data retention and sharing among international players and laws to that effect, although this remains unrealized owing to constitutional protection to citizens privacy.

Transnational crimes are very complex to be dealt with just at the national level, yet there remain significant hitches to regional and technological developments in combating it. Much time, knowledge of operation mode and participants and resources must be ensured as a perquisite to employing an efficient and sufficient response mechanisms. This calls for increased inter-country participation, mores so at regional level and intense employment of technology. However, both regional integration approach and employment of technology have raised so many political, legal and ethical issues. It is high time a compromise is made, lest the transnational coordination framework and structure is tightened even further; a move that will be a blow to national, regional and the larger global security and interest.

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Ercan Ekmekcioglu

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