Using Tittle's control balance theory to understand computer crime and deviance

Katherine S. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article studies Tittle's control balance theory that bases criminal and deviant behaviour on the desire to increase levels of autonomy and uses this to deconstruct Internet crime. It suggests that anonymity and deindividuation are facets of opportunity and means of reducing the likelihood that normal constraints will interfere and questions their position as causative elements of computer mediated crime. It suggests that the control balance theory can help to understand why there may be high levels of computer crime and why individuals who might refrain from deviance in the real world may participate in deviant behaviour on-line. Finally, there are tentative suggestions for policy initiatives as well as a recognition that both these and the application of control balance in this area would benefit from further analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-155
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Review of Law, Computers and Technology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Internet crime
  • control balance


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