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Executive Summary

This report has been written in the form of a multi-disciplinary academic article that has been submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. FIDIS authors from different disciplines (law, public administration, political science, computer science, and information security) have teamed up to look at identity-related crime from various perspectives.  

Identification is ever more important in the online world, and identity-related crime is a growing problem related to this. This new category of crime is not restricted to high-profile instances of identity ‘theft’ or identity fraud; it is wide-ranging and complex, ranging from identity deletion to unlawful identity creation and identity ‘theft’. Commonly accepted definitions are lacking, thus blurring available statistics, and policies to combat this new crime are piecemeal at best. In order to assess the real nature and magnitude of identity-related crime, and to be able to discuss how it can be combated, identity-related crime should be understood in all its aspects. As a first key step, this deliverable introduces a typology of identity-related crime, consisting of conceptual, technical, and legal categories.  

The conceptual categories are unlawful forms of identity deletion, identity restoration, and identity change; the latter category is subdivided in unlawful forms of identity takeover (‘identity theft’), identity delegation, identity exchange, and identity creation. Identity deletion is subdivided in identification obstruction and identifier erasure.  

The technical categories consist of 17 points of attack on identification, ranging from attacks on users of information systems and garbage cans through attacks on computer networks in the various stages in the telecommunication process to attacks on service providers and their systems. 

The legal categories distinguishes between identity-specific legal provisions, such as the US crime of identity theft, and identity-neutral legal provisions mainly used in Europe, subdivided in criminal, civil, and administrative provisions.  

The analysis shows that the relationship between attacks on identification systems, types of identity-related crime, and legal provisions is complex. This is important for policy-makers to realise when designing counter-measures to address the threat of identity-related crime. The typology can be used as a comprehensive framework for future research, countermeasures, and policies related to identity-related crime. 



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