The study was conducted using two panels. One was comprised of “traditional” experts, or people already in the high-tech law enforcement field, and “nontraditional” experts, member of hacker and cracker groups recommended by other experts. Two groups on experts were sent three rounds of questionnaires with the following questions, refined each time by the groups’ responses to the previous questionnaire.
- In your opinion, what area(s) of high technology will be the focus of criminal activity in the next ten years?
- What form(s) do you believe this activity will take?
- What steps should be taken now to prepare the police to combat this criminal activity?
- Do you believe the responsibility for criminal investigation of high-technology crimes will be primarily that of government or private businesses? Why?
- Do you believe the responsibility for crime prevention activities regarding high-technology crimes will be primarily that of government or private businesses? Why?
Each groups’ perspective diverged significantly from the first round of questioning onward. However, at the end of the three questionnaires, a consensus on several issues was identified.
- Likely high-tech future crime areas include computer system attacks via telecommunications, a growing increase in computer-assisted fraud, and computer assisted data manipulation or theft.
- Crime will take the form of software piracy, increased incidents of computer assisted counterfeiting, increased incidents of financial fraud, and increased attacks on computer systems via advanced technologies.
- Preventative steps recommended include recruitment of individual with computer knowledge, increased public/private partnership, more training for law enforcement officers earlier in their career, and legislation that better defines jurisdiction.
- At the time of this study experts forecasted private business would conduct the initial investigation and have an active participatory role in government investigations.
- They also forecasted that private businesses would be responsible for protecting their own assets, with government assistance in identifying potential threats.