Prof. Dr. Ümit Kocasakal is a professor at Galatasaray University specialized in criminal law. His classes include “economical crime and money laundering” and “fight with terrorism under comparative law and Turkish law”. He has many publications, articles in newspapers and seminars on cyber law. He has recently been elected as the new Head of the Istanbul Bar Association. The Istanbul Bar Association is the largest bar on the world, having 26,097 attorneys registered, higher than in New York or in Tokyo.
1-Do you think internet is a blessing or a nightmare?
The internet is a blessing but at the same time it is a nightmare because it increases the crime rate. It depends on how it is used.
2-Do you think that Turkey is well prepared for these types of crimes? If not how can they be stopped?
It is harder to cope with crimes which are done with the help of internet nowadays. But it is nowm possible to catch the people who use the internet for bad purposes by finding their IP numbers. It is not a hundred percent effective but at least there is a way like this.
3-They are stealing bank account numbers etc. Can we track these criminals? Why not?
Not exactly. It is like this: We have a law which is about the crimes that are committed on the internet. Although this provides an Infrastructure, there are lots of deficiencies in it. So we can’t say there are no arrangements about it but there are deficiencies too.
4- What do you think about cyber warfare; is it possible that the way we go about war is going to change?
I think it is. According to me, decoding somewhere’s security codes, hacking, spreading some kind of false information are cyber wars. So it is possible.
6- Is there an INTERPOL for cyber crimes?
There is an international police organization Interpol: there is also a Europol for European members. Both of them have different agencies to struggle with some kind of crimes. So both Interpol and Europol have cyber war agencies. But there is no organisation that especially deals with cyber crimes.
7- What kind of sentences do these criminals usually get?
Of course it depends on the kind of crime and country it happens in. Classic crimes like scams can be committed by using internet. But there are also some kinds of crimes that can only be committed by using of internet. Of course these kinds of crimes are punished with prison sentences or fines.
8- Do you think that people are aware of cyber crime?
Cyber guilt and internet guilt are very professional units that usually need highly technical information. So of course criminals are aware of what they do. Furthermore, these crimes cannot be committed accidentally. About the victims, most of them are not even aware of that they are victims.
9- What do you think the real reason for the widespread use of pirate CDs is?
The producing of pirates CDs in Turkey has really decreased. We have an idea and artworks law in Turkey. In the recent changes to this, the punishment for this got increased. So there is an Infrastructure of struggle but it requires determination. Although we see this problem in Turkey less and less everyday, it has not totally disappeared. Of course it arises from economic reasons. People prefer to give 5 TL for a CD than to give 35 TL. So I think economic reasons are quite effective too.
10- On October 27, 2010, Limewire was closed off with a legal notice which said ‘’Limewire is under a court ordered conjunction to stop distributing and supporting it’s file sharing software’’. Do you think there should such sanctions for downloading music from the internet? Why?
Actually, downloading music from internet is an attack to peoples’ commercial and mental rights. So I think these kinds of precautions are necessary and useful to prevent people using the internet to download music.
11- How do you think that obstructing the downloading of music would affect society?
There is a crowd that benefit from this. I don’t think people will enjoy it. Furthermore, I don’t think mental effort is greatly cared for and respected in our society. So user groups will not enjoy it but the law doesn’t make its decisions according to these kinds of thoughts. If there is a mental effort, if there is a right, the law protects it. And I don’t think the crowd will like it. Think about it, you will not be able to download music either.