In July of 2017, I accepted a generous invitation by Dr. Debarati Halder, who I consider to be a close friend and intellectual colleague, to serve as a visiting faculty at the prestigious United World School of Law, which is located in Gandhinagar. Dr. Halder serves as the head of the department and as its chief legal researcher for its law students. There is no denying that it was a humbling experience working alongside her team of legal scholars and I must acknowledge, that I was most impressed with the caliber of the university's law students and their vast knowledge and understanding of how the legal system can effectively be used to address the plight of crime victims, particularly children, who, by most accounts, are the most vulnerable to being victimized in both the physical and virtual world by those who prey upon children.
Simply stated, it was an incredible experience working with the university's faculty, students, and administration for the nearly four weeks that I spent in India. The hospitality that I was shown from the first day I arrived was most humbling and deeply appreciated. During my stay, I taught the law students about the American criminal justice system, including but not limited to, corrections, juvenile rehabilitation, terrorism, and of course, cybercrimes. Not only was I the professor, but I also became the student because I walked away from that experience with a deeper understanding of the Indian criminal justice system, particularly how the Indian legal system differs from that of the United States. In addition to teaching several courses, I also facilitated several university-wide presentations, but more importantly, I participated in the well-attended, National Human Rights conference. In addition to serving on the National Human Rights panel with other distinguished colleagues, I presented my research on the extensive connection between online pornography and human trafficking worldwide.
One of my primary areas of interest, at least for the past decade, has been focused on the study of cybercrimes. In fact, that is how I met Dr. Halder and her husband, Dr. Jaishankar Karuppannan, professor and head of criminology at Raksha Shakti University. Both had contributed several chapters to my first book, Crimes of the Internet, an anthology of cybercrimes coauthored and co-edited with Dr. Frank Schmalleger, one of the leading criminal justice/criminology textbook authors in the United States. It should be noted that this was the first time that Dr. Jaishankar had publicly introduced his Space Transition Theory as "a scientific explanation concerning the nature of the behavior of the persons who bring out their conforming and non-conforming behavior in the physical space and cyberspace."
Crimes of the Internet quickly sold worldwide and led to the development of a cybercrime course, which I subsequently developed for Savant Learning in Nashville, Tennessee (USA). I have continued to teach this course nearly every term since its inception in 2010. The book consists of 31 original scholarly chapters on all aspects of cybercrime from emerging global crimes of the Internet to criminological perspectives on cybercrime, to investigating and prosecuting cyber crimes. The book offers a collection of previously unpublished works that examine emerging global crimes, the challenges faced by law enforcement, and the underlying reasons for the rise in such activities. Through a variety of topics, it explores the role of the cybercriminal, the victim, and the cybercriminal's impact on the criminal justice system. There is no doubt that the book's success is largely due to the scholarly reputations of the chapters' contributing authors from the United States, India, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Israel to name a few.
Most would agree that the internet has revolutionized the way we conduct business, research, and communicate on a global scale, but the Internet also has a darker, more sinister side in which crime and criminals continue to proliferate. Since cybercrimes transcend all nations, collaboration leading to the sharing and disseminating of scientific information is critical to combating these continuously-evolving crimes and helps to provide education and awareness to practitioners and to those most vulnerable to being victimized. It is for that reason that I value and treasure my relationship with Dr. Halder and look forward to collaborating to build on the foundation of educating the next generation of legal and criminological researchers.
Dr. Michael Pittaro
Dr. Michael Pittaro is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice with American Military University and an Adjunct Professor at East Stroudsburg University. Dr. Pittaro is a criminal justice veteran, highly experienced in working with criminal offenders in a variety of institutional and non-institutional settings. Before pursuing a career in higher education, Dr. Pittaro worked in corrections administration; has served as the Executive Director of an outpatient drug and alcohol facility and as Executive Director of a drug and alcohol prevention agency. Dr. Pittaro has been teaching at the university level (online and on-campus) for the past 15 years while also serving internationally as an author, editor, presenter, and subject matter expert. Dr. Pittaro holds a BS in Criminal Justice; an MPA in Public Administration; and a Ph.D. in criminal justice.