One Year Ago: New Federal Site Takes Aim at Cybercrime


Originally published on March 14, 2000 and brought to you today as a time capsule.


The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) launched a Web site Monday that is designed to counter the recent rash of hacker activity by keeping the public informed of the nature of criminal activity on the Web and the legal ramifications of such acts.

The site, Cybercrime.gov, was launched on the heels of a report released last week by a White House-appointed interagency working group that included members of the DOJ and the Department of Commerce. The report outlines the threat hackers pose to business and the government, and also points out that both the Justice and Commerce Departments believe they need more funds and personnel to track down hackers properly.

The new site includes extensive information about the U.S. government’s efforts to enforce intellectual property and other laws it deems applicable to cybercrime, which Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General James K. Robinson argues could help lawyers and law enforcement officials in their efforts to pursue and prosecute hackers.

In Denial

The site is expected to help shed light on the complex world of hacking, which the general public is showing more interest in since the recent spate of highly publicized denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, Robinson said.

The site provides “information that can be useful from the classroom to the courtroom,” he added. “There is a growing interest in cybercrime from a variety of perspectives, ranging from children, parents and teachers to lawyers, law enforcement, and the media.”

Bits and Pieces

In addition to computer hacking, the site addresses intellectual property piracy, counterfeiting and other legal issues that are specifically related to electronic commerce, freedom of speech, searching and seizing computers, encryption and privacy. The freedom of speech section, Speech Issues in the High-Tech Context, deals with hate-related speech, the sharing of bomb-making instructions via the Internet and cyber-stalking.

Another section, Investigating and Prosecuting Computer Crime, lists computer crime laws and legislative history, as well as press releases regarding significant hacker cases. The International Aspects of Computer Crime section provides information on the efforts of such international groups as the G-8 and the Council of Europe.

Prevention Starts…

The site also includes information on How to Report Internet-related Crime, to help the general public join the fight.

“Law enforcement wants to work with the public and industry to fight computer crime,” Martha Stansell-Gamm, chief of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, said. “By providing easy access to materials, we hope to inform the public about the special issues related to cybercrime. Being connected to the World Wide Web also facilitates our work with law enforcement agencies all over the world.”

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