Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Before the invention of the computer, the amount of property an individual could steal or destroy was, to some extent, determined by physical limitations. Criminals could take only as much property as they could carry or arrange to transport. For example, the average amount of money taken in a bank robbery has been estimated to be about ten thousand dollars. Crime has, however, changed with the times. A criminal can use modern technology to transfer extremely large sums of money that formerly would have been impossible to remove without detection. A 1984 study conducted by the American Bar Association Task Force on Computer Crime (the ABA Task Force Re-port) estimates computer crime losses to be approximately 100,000 to 500,000 dollars per instance. Although the disparity between the dollar figure reported in the ABA Task Force Report and the estimate of the average amount seized in a manual bank robbery might seem alarming in its own right, these figures barely hint at the most alarming aspect of the computer crime phenomenon: its potential for growth.