Cyber crime

Futurist: Gene Stephens, 59, a professor at the University of South Carolina College of Criminal Justice and the criminal-justice editor of the Futurist. Scenario: 'Information technology is reshaping the logic of everything from business strategy to work to pop culture. It's...

Futurist: Gene Stephens, 59, a professor at the University of South Carolina College of Criminal Justice and the criminal-justice editor of the Futurist.

Scenario: ‘Information technology is reshaping the logic of everything from business strategy to work to pop culture. It’s also reshaping the logic of crime: what it looks like, how it takes place, and how we as a society choose to fight it. We’re seeing more identity theft-illegally obtaining a credit-card number, a social-security number, or other information. As we become a cashless society, electronic banking will no doubt make our financial lives simpler, but it will also make it easier for criminals to access our bank accounts. The ‘Willie Sutton Principle’ still applies: Criminals go where the money is.’

So What? ‘One effect of the growth of cyber crime is that we feel safer, especially as street crime declines. But in a world dominated by white-collar crime, there’s a lot more to lose than we may think-especially as we step up our efforts to fight such crime. It will become harder for honest citizens to escape the reach of law enforcement or to maintain their privacy, as birth-to-death dossiers are created on everyone. With satellites, we can already see through and hear through walls. It’s possible that in the not-too-distant future, we’ll have the ability to implant nanocomputers in people’s brains that will allow us to monitor their intentions and control their behavior. We’ll have the option of injecting people with hormones to calm them down, or of reengineering them to be nonviolent.’

Futurology Decoder Key: ‘One of the prevailing myths in America is that there are a finite number of criminals out there. But the truth is that more of us than we choose to believe have the potential to commit crimes. Digital technology dramatically increases the number of potential crime victims-and the pool of potential criminals.

‘At the same time, technology might someday serve as an effective way to punish criminals. Instead of relying on prisons, we could make better use of electronic monitoring devices. Pair them with positioning satellites, and we could follow criminals wherever they go.’

Contact Gene Stephens by e-mail (, or visit the futurist on the Web (

From Karen Howe’s dining table: Creativity, COVID and Cannes

ICYMI, The Township's founder gathers the best of the best campaigns and trends so far.

Cannes Base Camp

By Karen Howe

I’m attending Cannes from the glory of my dining room table. There’s not a palm tree in sight, yet inspiration and intel are present in abundance.

Cannes Lions is a global cultural pulse check. The social course correction in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and BLM has delivered far greater diversity in the judging panels as well as the work. And we are all better for it.

I’m proud to say that creativity defeated COVID, which speaks to its power. Great work and big ideas flourished, despite unimaginable odds.

The work from the past two years spans a vast emotional range. From the profundity of Dove’s “Courage is Beautiful” to the hyper exuberance of Burberry’s “Festive,” they are opposite ends of the spectrum, but each answered a need in us.

Take note, the ascendency of gaming cannot be understated. Smart brands have embraced the channel. It makes sense, because gamers participate to meet others around the world, not just to play. And they represent a huge and powerful community. That’s why QSR Wendy’s gamified their iconic gal in RPG’s Feast of Legends.

Burger King sponsored the unknown Stevenage Football Club, transforming the team into online heroes and vaulting BK into the fray at the same time. Once again, the brand embedded itself in culture.

The birth of gaming tourism arrived when Xbox snuggled up to travel guides and created a brilliant baby: a travel guide for gaming worlds. It, too, embedded itself in culture.

From the standpoint of social good, Reporter Without Borders showed how it worked with Mindcraft for its “Uncensored Library” to bypass press censorship, with Minecraft providing a loophole to a space where young people could be educated. It provided youth with a powerful tool to fight oppression: truth.

COVID changed us in unexpected ways. We learned how to pay attention again and there was a notable lack of 30-second commercials. Instead, longer format content thrived. Apple’s WFH was seven minutes long. Entertainment reigned king, so we find ourselves returning to our advertising roots.

Seeing competitive brands form partnerships was one of this year’s other great surprises. The brilliantly simple “Beer Cap Project” by Aguila to reduce binge-drinking saw the brand reach out to competitive beers to join in. Aguila put incentivizing (keyword: free) reminders to drink water, eat food and get home safely on its bottle caps from all sorts of fast food chains, ride-share co’s and H2O brands.

On a personal level, I’m so proud of Canada again this year. Given that it was two years of work from all over the world being judged, even making the Cannes shortlist was an accomplishment. Canada is herding in the Lions in tremendous numbers – and it’s not even over. Fingers are crossed.

KAREN-HOWE-PIC-higher-rez-300x263Karen Howe is a Canadian Cannes Advisory Board Member and founder of The Township Group