We all have questions about Cybersecurity, but there are some people who have answers. SERENE-RISC brings a series of interviews with researchers finding answers to find out more about their work, themselves and the future for cybersecurity and cybercrime research.
This week, our interview features Dr. Russell Brewer, Senior Lecturer at Adelaide University. Russell Brewer has a Ph.D. in Criminology from the Australian National University. His research interests include policing, crime prevention, Internet crime, and social networks. In particular, his work seeks to establish the significance of networks as a tool for providing a clearer understanding of the risk factors that lead to deviance, as well as the structural characteristics of policing responses to criminality. He has a range of publications exploring these areas, including a series of journal articles, as well as a monograph for the Clarendon Series in Criminology, Oxford University Press. Russell is a founding member of the Centre for Crime Policy and Research at Flinders University and is also a Chief Investigator on a 5-year ARC funded Digital Youth Research Project.
Dr. Russell Brewer research explores the ways in which young people experience the Internet as a potentially criminogenic medium. To date, little research has explored the possible links between the mundane, ubiquitous use of digital communication technologies by young people and involvement in delinquency in online contexts. The current empirical study seeks to address this gap, by investigating how a young person’s digital pursuits (i.e., relative access, technical competencies, and exposure to pertinent technologies, Internet sites and, services), as well as various developmental considerations, are linked to delinquent online encounters – be they tentative engagements of a naïve or non-criminal kind or deliberate, more serious forms of technologically-mediated criminality. Drawing on data collected from a cohort of adolescents enrolled at secondary schools across a large Australian city, the results establish significant relationships between many of these concepts, but also flag that online delinquent encounters amongst young adolescents are unlikely to correspond with serious criminal involvements, with such activities being episodic and for the most part trifling. The results further highlight the need for a better understanding of the role of digital communication technologies on pathways into cybercrime.