Washington coalition attacks Internet crime

Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in Washington state have

joined together to fight Internet crime, saying each agency alone does not

have the expertise or resources to respond to Internet complaints.

"This is basically an agreement between law enforcement to cooperate

on several fronts," said assistant attorney general Lana Martuscelli. However,

the main focus will be trying to get state or federal funds for Internet

law enforcement efforts and to "establish an information network amongst

law enforcement officials," Martuscelli said.

The state's Attorney General's office also announced a new World Wide Web

site, Consumer and Criminal Justice Cyber Clearinghouse, which will help

people avoid online fraud and crime. Consumers can log on to the site to

remove their names from marketing lists, file an online complain, research

consumer and criminal justice issues and get tips on how to safely surf

the Internet. The site will expand to include teen consumer education lessons

for teachers and training materials for law enforcement officials.

Members of Computer Law Enforcement of Washington signed an agreement in

March pledging to share resources and work together to:

* Provide response to high-tech crime complaints 24 hours a day.

* Share expertise, resources and training to help local law enforcement

investigate and prosecute Internet crimes.

* Seek an estimated $2 million for a regional computer forensics lab

to help investigate and prosecute Internet crimes.

* Suggest legislation to clarify where a crime has been committed when

the perpetrator is not in the same state as the computer server used to

commit the crime.

A speech by U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno earlier this year pushed states

to investigate computer crimes. Washington Attorney General Christine Gregoire

took Reno's message as a call to arms.

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