The Role of State and Non-State Actors in Enabling and Disabling Cybercrime: Complementary, competitive, coherent?

Cybercrime is understood as ‘criminal acts committed using electronic communications networks and information systems or against networks and systems’ (European Commission, 2007: 2). Ranging from offences such as identity theft to distributing illegal content to destruction of data, the committing and combating of cybercrime reflects broader trends in the online environment. More specifically, the governance of cybercrime has been typified by networks of public and private stakeholders cooperating in information exchange, identification of best practices and ensuring system resilience as a means of preventing crime online, as well as rendering investigations more efficient. Similarly, the commissioning and carrying out of crimes online are also networked, comprising diverse private and even public actors engaged in transnational illegal activities so as to achieve various goals based on financial, political or personal motivations. An aspect that has been under-theorised and under-explored in the legal, criminological and political science literature, however, is the way in which a wider body of non-state actors has both been involved in shaping the governance framework for cybercrime, and also contributed to increasing insecurity in the digital sphere by enabling the emergence of cybercrime.
With this concern in mind, the present call for papers invites expressions of interest covering one or more of the following topics for the purpose of submitting a special issue proposal to the journal Crime, Law and Social Change:

  • How are private sector actors, namely industry and other market-based actors, involved in either enabling or disabling cybercrime?
  • How have non-traditional non-state actors, such as private citizens, social movements and activist groups served to facilitate or hinder cybercrime prevention?
    What role has the structural transformation of the media played in enabling or disabling cybercrime?
  • How have regulatory approaches in the fields of terrorism, data protection, hate speech and disinformation, among others, affected private actors’ ability to commit or prevent cybercrime?
  • How do these different non-state actors engage with each other, and the public sector, in either combating cybercrime, or commissioning it?

Expressions of interest should be submitted to the editors of the special issue Ben Farrand (Newcastle University), Helena Farrand Carrapico (Northumbria University), and Julia Rone (Cambridge University) via the following e-mail: It should include the author’s name, institutional affiliation, e-mail address, and a 200-word abstract. The deadline for submission of expressions of interest is 1st September 2019.