Jersey taking hard look at computer crime

A report recommends the state enact new laws, train police and educate young people in order to get a handle on cyberstalking and Internet-related crime.

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

crime 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 the report to increase awareness of computer

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

so all of those groups can contribute to strategies for combatting 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.

Highlights of reform called for in the report include:

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

that defines technological advances consistent with federal statutes.

* Allocate more money to train law enforcement personnel, investigators

and civil attorneys.

* Keep compensation for key computer enforcement personnel on a par

with private industry.

* Teach students at all levels how to recognize computer crime.

* Provide filtering software in schools and libraries and consider the

use of software to track Internet use in schools.

*Develop policies on acceptable Internet use in schools.

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

to gain access to records of customer use.

* Urge 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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