Other Free Encyclopedias » Law Library - American Law and Legal Information » Crime and Criminal Law » Computer Crime - Categorizing Computer-related Crime, Computer Crime Statutes, International Initiatives, Agencies Focused On Computer Crimes

Computer Crime - Agencies Focused On Computer Crimes

internet investigation government fraud

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ) are the agencies at the forefront of investigation and prosecution of computer crimes. Each of these entities has established separate bodies within the agency that concentrates on computer crimes. There are also interagency groups that focus on computer crimes. In some cases, private businesses are included as a part of the cybergroup. Since most of the victims of computer crimes are businesses, the FBI has stressed the importance of having close business cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of these crimes.

The National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC), established in 1998, focuses on protecting "critical infrastructures." The NIPC is an interagency body located within the FBI. The NIPC is divided into three sections: (1) the Computer Investigations and Operations Section (CIOS), which coordinates computer crime investigations; (2) the Analysis and Warning Section (AWS), which analyzes information and warns the government and private industry of possible system threats; and (3) the Training, Outreach and Strategy Section (TOSS), which provides training to law enforcement and out-reach to private businesses. In addition to the NIPC, the FBI has cybercrime programs in individual FBI offices.

The Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) of the DOJ is the prosecutorial body coordinating federal computer crime cases throughout the United States. Founded in 1991, CCIPS became a formal section of the DOJ in 1996. CCIPS assists federal prosecutors and law enforcement agents throughout the country. CCIPS works particularly closely with the assistant U.S. attorneys in the individual offices that are handling computer crime cases. Each U.S. attorney's office designates an assistant U.S. attorney, known as Computer and Telecommunications Coordinators (CTCs), to receive special training for the prosecution of computer crime cases.

The CCIPS also serves a key role in the national and international coordination of efforts to curb computer crimes. It is associated with the National Cybercrime Training Partnership (NCTP), a body that is focused on making certain that law enforcement receives adequate technical training to handle computer crimes. CCIPS also participates in discussions with international bodies such as the G-8 Subgroup on High-Tech Crime and the Council of Europe Experts Committee on Cybercrime.

Numerous other government agencies can play a role in the investigation of computer crimes. For example, if the computer activity involves bomb threats, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) may be involved in the investigation. The investigation of Internet fraud involving the mails may include the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The U.S. Customs service may play a role in an investigation involving imported software, and the U.S. Secret Service is likely to be involved if the alleged crime is counterfeiting of currency. Likewise, Internet securities fraud may include individuals from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as part of the investigation team.

In some instances the government agency may have developed a particular group focused on computer activity. For example, in July 1998 the Securities and Exchange Commission created the Office of Internet Enforcement (OIE). A key focus of this body is Internet securities fraud. In addition to providing training, the OIE oversees the investigation of improper securities activity involving the Internet. The office also refers matters to other government agencies.

There are also study groups to consider approaches to eradicating computer crimes. On 5 August 1999, President Clinton issued Executive Order 13,133 establishing a working group to consider and make recommendations regarding the existence of unlawful conduct on the Internet. The report of the group, issued in March 2000, recommends a three-part approach for addressing unlawful conduct on the Internet. It calls for analysis through a "policy framework" of Internet regulation of unlawful conduct to assure consistency in the treatment of online and offline conduct and ensure the protection of privacy and civil liberties. It stresses the need for law enforcement funding, training, and international cooperation. It also calls for continued support from the private sector. A key focus of the report is the need to develop educational methods to combat computer crime.

The private sector has been included in many of the agency efforts to curtail computer crime. An example of a joint effort between the government and business is seen in the Cybercitizen Partnership, an alliance between high-tech industry and the government. As an aspect of this partnership, the government and private industry will share computer knowledge to achieve a more secure system. An aim of this partnership is to promote computer ethics and educate users.

In an effort to become more aware of computer crimes, the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center established the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC). Established as a result of this partnership is a website that offers victims of Internet fraud a way to report Internet fraud online.

Government agencies have also been involved in educating consumers about computer abuses. For example, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) uses the computer to alert and educate consumers and businesses on privacy and fraud issues that pertain to the Internet.

Computer Crime - Privacy Issues [next] [back] Computer Crime - International Initiatives

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or