Committee advances cybercrime bill

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a bill that allocates more federal

money to agencies that investigate cybercrimes.

The Internet Integrity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, introduced

in May by Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), passed the

committee Thursday.

The bill would authorize $100 million for the establishment of a National

Cyber Crime Technical Support Center and 10 regional computer forensic laboratories.

This new authorization would complement a bill Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)

and Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) have introduced to authorize $25 million for

forensic computer training for state and local law enforcement agencies.

That bill was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 21.

The Internet Integrity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act would

set aside $5 million for the Justice Department's Computer Crime and Intellectual

Property (CCIP) division and raise the profile of the head of the CCIP by

making him or her a deputy assistant attorney general.

The committee amended or deleted many of the tougher legal provisions of

the bill at the behest of Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the committee.

Each of the 50 states has its own computer crime laws, and Leahy said the

bill would have over-federalized minor computer abuses if it remained in

its original form.

The committee also eliminated a proposed change that would have extended

a provision of federal law on computer fraud and abuse to government employees.

Leahy said the proposal was an ill-considered change. The proposal would

have made it a federal crime if a federal employee accidentally allowed

a virus into the system by playing a computer game at work.

The Internet Integrity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act has no

companion bill in the House. There has been speculation that the bill might

be added to the Leahy-DeWine measure to establish a National Cyber Crime

Technical Support Center, but that has not yet occurred, a spokeswoman for

Leahy said.

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