News briefs

FBI fixes IT focus

An ambitious overhaul of the FBI will focus new attention on cybercrime and stress upgrades to the agency's information technology, director Robert Mueller announced. Among the changes at the bureau, Mueller plans to create a cybercrime division to handle investigations of intellectual property theft and crimes involving advanced technology and computers. Mueller also intends to name a chief technology officer to oversee modernization of the FBI's IT infrastructure.

The FBI also plans to let state and local police handle more crimes, such as bank robberies and drug offenses, so that federal investigators can concentrate on counterterrorism and counterintelligence, Mueller said Dec. 3.

Court shifts to e-filing

Litigants in federal court lawsuits are now allowed to serve various legal documents via e-mail and fax rather than by paper mail as long as both sides in the suit agree. New rules approved by the Supreme Court and the Judicial Conference of the United States permit the electronic delivery of such documents as pleadings, motions and briefs. The rules apply to civil cases in U.S. district and bankruptcy courts.

One instance in which electronic documents are not acceptable is the filing of documents that initiate litigation.

SBA unveils model e-gov site

The Small Business Administration on Dec. 5 unveiled a new Web site,, that will be the basis for one of the Bush administration's 23 cross-agency e-government initiatives. The site ( is intended to provide a one-stop portal to help small businesses deal with legal questions, such as what permits are necessary at the federal, state and local levels to start a busines.


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