Monday, July 23, 2007

CyberSecurity Enhancement Act of 2007

Its time to rally the troops on the political front once again. Those of you who know me know that I believe we have primarily not a lack of laws but a lack of manpower and interest in enforcing those laws. Is it against the law to send spam with false headers in the United States? Yes. It is actively investigated and prosecuted? No. Is it against the law to steal someone's identity in the United States? Yes. Is it actively investigated and prosecuted? No. Unless you can show enormous losses.

So, on the one hand, I would like to see adequate resources applied to enforcing the laws that we currently have on the books. On the other hand, when I see a great Bill is introduced in the House or the Senate, I'd like to see it supported.

The CyberSecurity Enhancement Act of 2007 is worth supporting. It goes beyond our current CyberCrime Laws and attempts to bring in the aspects of Organized Crime and Conspiracy that are behind the individual acts we see everyday.

Someone registered a new domain in Hong Kong and used a bot-infected computer to host a phishing website. Hardly interesting from a prosecutorial perspective. But if there were laws on the books that let investigators more easily go after the Criminal Conspiracy that encouraged this action to be committed hundreds of times this year by a related group of co-conspirators, that would make these smaller acts more likely to be prosecuted. Assistant US Attorney Erez Liebermann, the chief of the New Jersey CHIPS unit (Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Section), was recently interviewed by Information Week where he mentioned this Bill. In the July 20th article, he says that by adding CyberCrime to the RICO statutes, as this Act would do, criminal penalties for these activities would be enhanced.

Are you familiar with the "CyberSecurity Enhancement Act of 2007"? Most of us aren't.

You can read the Full Text of the Bill here.

HR 2290 was introduced May 14th by Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California. (GovTrack categorizes him a "Radical Democrat". I like Radical Democrats love for technology and for their desire to help the poor. I can work with anyone. Schiff co-sponsored National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and a bill to make trade in illegal nuclear weapons a Crime Against Humanity. Of course he also introduced a Bill to express No Confidence in our Attorney General, so bi-partisan, this guy ain't.)

This bill is currently sitting with the House Committee on the Judiciary, along with 43 other proposed amendments to Title 18 (where most of our CyberCrime Laws are outlined).

One of those other versions is a Republican sponsored Bill with almost the same name, introduced by Republican Lamar Smith, HR 836, introduced back in February.

A key phrase which was present in both the Republican and the Democratic version of the Bill would modify the penalties so that they applied both to the successful criminal, and the criminal who "conspires to" or "attempts" to commit certain CyberCrimes.

Another huge part of the act addresses the concern I mention at the top of this post. Section 10 of this act would give an additional $10 Million EACH to the Secret Service, the FBI, and the Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the DOJ, specifically for fighting CyberCrime. If for no other reason than this, I would strongly encourage your support of this bill!

I'm pleased to see that one of my two Congressman, Artur Davis, is listed among the co-sponsors of HR 2290. (I claim the one in the zip code where I work, and the one in the zip code where I live both represent me. I had the pleasure of escorting my son's orchestra on a Capitol Tour as guests of Mr. Davis' office last month!) I'm also pleased to see that Ohio Republican Steven Chabot and California Republican Daniel Lungren, 2 of the 9 Republican co-sponsors of Smith's earlier bill, and both members of the sub-committee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, have joined as part of the 6 Republicans who make a total of 19 co-sponsors of HR 2290.

The fact that the members of this committee, both Democrats and Republicans, are signed on as co-sponsors to this Bill encourages me that it might make it out of committee!

I would encourage folks to read the Bill, and if you agree that it should be law, please encourage your Representative to lend his voice of support to the Bill.

The Bill is currently sitting in a sub-committee of the House Judiciary Committee, called the "Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security Committee". Especially if you are in Michigan, where the Honorable John Conyers, the Chairman of the Judiciary, is from, or in Virginia, where the Honorable Robert C. Scott, the Chairman of the sub-committee, is from, it would be very useful to hear your voice in this matter.

Please take a minute to review the Bill, members of the Subcommittee, and your own Congressmen's contact information, and determine what the right course of action is for yourself.

Thanks for your help!


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