Statement of the Honorable Lamar Smith,
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
Cyber crime, however, threatens more than our businesses, economy
or national infrastructure. Cyber crime affects us as individuals,
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
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
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
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.