Litska Strikwerda

Winner Dissertation Prize 2016

Virtual Acts, Real Crimes? A Legal-Philosophical Analysis of Virtual Cybercrime.

Supervisor: Professor P.A.E. Brey
Co-supervisor: Dr. J.H. Søraker, Dr. P.J. Nickel
Nomination: University of Twente, Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences

Report by the Selection Committee

This dissertation addresses a genuinely new subject: the criminalization of purely virtual acts, from the theft of items acquired by people during internet games, to virtual child pornography. A highly topical subject unfortunately, where the central question is: why criminalize these acts? Should they cause damage in the ‘extra virtual world’? Or is there space for paternalistic considerations? The author tackles the subject in a combative manner, equipped with philosophical and legal tools, and ultimately proposes a balanced framework for criminalization. For instance, she cleverly applies a structure in what is still uncharted territory. And she formulates all this in a style that is crystal clear and legible, even for non-specialists.