New Jersey taking hard look at computer crime

Two New Jersey agencies are calling for the state to strengthen its laws,

enhance law enforcement training and beef up education programs to combat

computer-related crime.

Concerned about the proliferation of child sexual abuse, fraud, identity

theft, hacking, cyberstalking, espionage and other criminal activities

associated with computer use and telecommunications technology, the State

Commission of Investigation (SCI) and the Office of the Attorney General

teamed to produce a comprehensive evaluation of the threat within New Jersey.

The agencies recently released a report to increase awareness of computer

crime among legislators, government officials, teachers, parents and consumers

so that all of those groups could contribute to strategies for combating

the problem, said Lee Seglem, SCI executive assistant. "Overall, this puts

New Jersey on a sound footing to provide some leadership in this realm to

the rest of the nation," he said.

Proposed reforms include:

* Strengthening New Jersey's 1984 computer crime law by adding language

that defines technological advances consistent with federal statutes.

* Allocating more money to train law enforcement personnel, investigators

and civil attorneys.

* Keeping compensation for key computer enforcement personnel on par

with private industry.

* Teaching students at all levels to recognize computer crime.

* Providing filtering software in schools and libraries, and possibly

software to track Internet use in schools.

* Developing policies on acceptable Internet use in schools.

* Requiring Internet access providers to make it easier for law enforcement

to gain access to records of customer use.

* Urging the New Jersey legislature to call on the federal government

to prevent online vendors and interactive computer services from collecting

private information without customer consent and from distributing unsolicited

and misleading e-mail.

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