Does technology create or inhibit crime?

Posted on October 30, 2007

Many people are familiar with the movie "Catch Me If You Can," which describes the early life of Frank Abagnale and his ability to change identities at a moment's notice. Some know this was based on a true story, and even fewer people know that Abagnale worked with the FBI for 32 years to thwart identity theft.

ComputerWorld recently interviewed Abagnale about his thoughts on today's IT security. In general, he says that if the technology we have now had been around 40 years ago, that it would be "4,000 times easier to do." I suppose everyone is entitled to his/her opinion, but that number seems to be a bit of a stretch.

Technology does make some things easier, but it also allows security, in certain circumstances, to work better as well. It's tough to take everything into account on both sides of the operation. Furthermore, all it would have taken is one person early on to be suspicious. But that never occurred, so Abagnale's scam snowballed out of control.

Technology and crime are related, but they seem to be on equal ground. Just because the world's knowledge bank grows exponentially doesn't mean that crime has grown at the same rate. Then again, if a fugitive uses a time machine ... things could get interesting.