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Training targets computer crimes

In an attempt to reduce criminal activity in the PC world, additional training on investigating and prosecuting cyber criminals will be available this fall to personnel in the offices of the attorneys general in each of the 50 states.

The National Center for Justice and the Rule of Law (NCJRL) and the National Association of Attorneys General have collaborated in preparing for the upcoming training programs.

The training is necessary because some states have excellent programs in fighting cybercrime while others do not, NCJRL Director Thomas Clancy said. "There is also a definite need for coordination amongst the states in order to keep everyone on the same page," he said.

According to Clancy, state agencies tend to be underfunded, so a $4.6 million grant was acquired to run the program for the next two years.

"Training is not only very expensive, but time-consuming as well," he said. The training will consist of four sessions at the University of Mississippi's Oxford campus. Initially, participants will focus on the basics of investigation and criminal cases involving computers. The second step in the learning process will include understanding of forensics cases and how to present the information in a court of law. The final session will be a national conference in the fall of 2003 discussing the progress of the program.

Criminal activity over the Internet and on computer systems has become more sophisticated, making it extremely difficult to investigate crimes and prosecute "hackers." The difficulty magnifies when computers and other equipment are used to commit crimes across jurisdictional boundaries.

In recent years, criminal activity involving pornography and fraud, for example, had migrated to the Internet, Clancy said. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the federal government has focused more on homeland security, Clancy said. "Because of this, the states are in critical need to enhance their abilities when dealing with computer crimes," he said.


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