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Statement of the Honorable Lamar Smith, Chairman

Hearing on Fighting Cyber Crime - Hearing 2 of 3:

Efforts by Federal Law Enforcement Officials

June 12, 2001

This is the Crime Subcommittee's second of three hearings on cyber crime. Today, we will hear testimony from the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Secret Service on the role and needs of federal law enforcement in this effort.

In addition, we will hear from the Center of Democracy and Technology (CDT) about on-line privacy concerns related to law enforcement efforts to protect the public.

The growth of the Internet has improved our economy, medicine and technology. Unfortunately, it has brought new opportunities for criminal activity, too. Often people think cyber crime simply refers to hacking, viruses and other intrusion tactics.

Cyber crime, however, threatens more than our businesses, economy or national infrastructure. Cyber crime affects us as individuals, too.

Reprehensible Crimes, such as child pornography and cyber stalking, terrorize our children and our families.

At the first hearing in this series on May 24th, the Texas Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice testified that "one of the biggest problems is that computer criminals are targeting the most vulnerable of our society -- children." He pointed out that according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, child pornography was virtually extinct prior to the advent of the Internet. Now it is a serious plague on our society that must be stopped.

Adults also experience the dark side of the Internet revolution. Using computer technology, criminal types steal life savings and even identities of unsuspecting individuals. These pose serious threats to the lives and the livelihoods of many individuals.

But in addressing these areas of crime, law enforcement faces several challenges.

Identifying a sophisticated criminal can be difficult. Once they are identified, bringing the criminal to justice may be problematic for jurisdictional reasons. The criminal may be in a different state or even another country and then law enforcement officials must deal with extradition issues.

Also, retrieving the information stored on a computer and using it for prosecution may be difficult if it requires highly technical skills not normally taught to investigators or prosecutors.

As long as there is technology, cyber crime will exist. Yet cyber crime must be curtailed as much as possible so that technology can legitimately continue to enrich our lives and strengthen our economy.

Congress understands that law enforcement officials must have the appropriate training and equipment to fight fire with fire, or computer technology with computer technology. But in doing so, law enforcement must remain cognizant of the need to protect the law-abiding public's privacy while protecting the public.

And the public must understand that law enforcement does need to use technology to deal with this new emerging threat to our children, our economy and our national security.

This hearing will focus on those efforts and challenges. We look forward to hearing how to balance the concerns of law enforcement officials and the need to protect privacy and find common ground to fight the growing trend of cyber crime.

Before I recognize Bobby Scott, the ranking Member, for an opening statement, I would like to congratulate the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the Secret Service on the successful Internet fraud investigation named "Operation Cyber Loss." Their efforts brought about criminal charges against approximately 90 individuals and companies that defrauded 56,000 people out of more than $117 million. With that, I recognize Mr. Scott.