May 11, 2011, 12:45 PM — The mobile computing technology explosion has brought out seriously organized, international and profit-driven cybercriminals.
That was just one of the key points made today by the U.S. Department of Justice Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein to a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law hearing.
"Every day, criminals hunt for our personal and financial data so that they can use it to commit fraud or sell it to other criminals. The technology revolution has facilitated these activities, making available a wide array of new methods that identity thieves can use to access and exploit the personal information of others. Skilled hackers have perpetrated large-scale data breaches that left hundreds of thousands -- and in many cases, tens of millions -- of individuals at risk of identity theft," Weinstein said. "As Americans accomplish more and more of their day-to-day tasks using smart phones and other mobile devices, criminals will increasingly target these platforms."
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He went on to say: "Foreign and domestic actors of all types, including cyber criminals, routinely and unlawfully access data that most people would regard as highly personal and private. Unlike the government -- which must comply with the Constitution and laws of the United States and is accountable to Congress, courts, and ultimately the people -- malicious cyber actors do not respect our laws or our privacy. The government has an obligation to prevent, disrupt, and deter such intrusions. The kinds of criminals we are up against are organized, international, and profit-driven."
How will the DOJ combat these problems? Weinstein said the department's 2012 budget includes a request for funding six Department of Justice attache positions that would emphasize the investigation and prosecution of laws prohibiting international computer hacking and protecting intellectual property rights at embassies around the world. The program would establish department representatives at hot spots for computer and intellectual property crime around the world, and would help ensure that we can continue to protect American citizens' privacy, both at home and abroad.
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Weinstein also repeated his call for improved mobile data retention and forensics.