Monday, April 11, 2011
This article analyzes the use of nanotechnology to commit crimes. A great deal has been written about the societal implications of nanotechnology, and what has been often notes that criminals will exploit the technology for antisocial ends. But while many clearly believe the technology has the capacity for a dark side, no one has focused on how that dark side might manifest itself and on the legal issues the misuse of nanotechnology may generate. This article undertakes both tasks.
It begins with the premise that nanotechnology - like computer technology - is likely to be a profoundly transformative technology. It explains why nanotechnology is likely to have wide-ranging effects across various sectors of society and speculates that nanocrime may evolve in a fashion analogous to computer crime. The article then analyzes how nanotechnology might be used to commit crimes of various types and argues that if and when nanocrime emerges, we should not respond - as we did to computer crime - by adopting technologically specific criminal statutes. Instead, we should, insofar as possible, integrate nanocrime into existing criminal law.