Inderscience Publishers

Identity theft and internet

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Courtesy of Inderscience Publishers

The captivating issue of false identity on internet is already an old phenomenon, but until now no uniform legal response really exists. For some, anonymity is deemed to be a right, but for others, using a false identity will be a tort. Thus, the protection of the identity takes various forms, both in civil action and in criminal procedure. However, the question involves a second aspect, not only in substantial law, but also in the field of law of evidence: how does one prove the real identity of the author of a computer related crime? The difficulty to connect the use of an IP address, or even of an electronic certificate, to a real person leads automatically to other legal responses which aim more directly to condemn identity theft and unauthorised access to information systems! The objective of this paper is to discuss the need of a reformulation of the concept of identity theft in order to correspond to the evolution of the behaviour and frauds. On the internet, identity theft is not the same as in the real world – a means of the commission of other offences, but is rather an autonomous crime.

Keywords: identity theft, privacy, breach of confidence, personal data, data protection, identity fraud, usurpation, criminal offences, torts, tort law, false identities, anonymity, legal rights, civil actions, criminal procedures, substantial law, evidence, computer related crimes, criminals, IP address, internet protocol, world wide web, electronic certificates, legal responses, unauthorised access, information systems, autonomous crimes, liability, scientific enquiry

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