[ISN] Justice Department plans more labs focused on cyber crime

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Tue Sep 14 05:18:33 EDT 2004


By Sarah Lai Stirland
National Journal's Technology Daily
September 13, 2004 

Attorney General John Ashcroft said on Monday that the Justice
Department soon will expand its capabilities for pursuing cyber crimes
by broadening its forensic analysis capabilities.

The department has five regional centers for such analysis in the
prosecution of cyber crimes and will increase the number to 13, he
said. He did not provide further details.

"We recognize that proper forensic analysis of computer evidence is
critical for the successful investigation and prosecution of crime,"  
he said in a keynote address at a conference held by the High
Technology Crime Investigation Association.

Ashcroft delivered a speech that outlined the growing importance and
role of the prosecution of cyber crimes within Justice. In particular,
he noted a greater emphasis on prosecuting computer hacking and crimes
related to intellectual property.

"The cornerstone of the department's prosecutorial effort is the
computer crime and intellectual property section ... a highly-trained
team of three dozen expert prosecutors who specialize in coordinating
all kinds of international computer crime and intellectual property
offenses," he said.

Ashcroft noted that the number of computer hacking and intellectual
property (CHIPS) units that FBI chief Robert Mueller established
before Mueller became head of the FBI has been expanded to 13 units
within Ashcroft's tenure as attorney general.

As part of the current appropriations cycle, Justice has asked Senate
appropriators to increase funding of the CHIPs units. Lobbyists for
the entertainment and software industry also have asked appropriators
to allot more dedicated resources to pursuing intellectual property

Ashcroft pointed to Justice's recently announced operations called
Websnare and Digital Gridlock as examples of an increasing focus on
cyber crime and as examples of successful coordination among law

"Over the past few decades, we've seen human ingenuity unleash new
ideas, new products and new ways of doing business," he said. "Freedom
and innovation have produced the personal computer revolution, a
revolution that extended the Internet beyond all borders. It increased
trade and increased commerce, delivered unimaginable opportunities to
new spheres of human aspiration. But with this tremendous boon to
human potential, we've seen a small group of predators try to make
cyberspace a space where crime and terrorism can be conducted, and it
is the duty and privilege of the Justice [Department] to fight these

Ashcroft did not take questions after his 40-minute speech.

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