Cyber crime is as much a part of the criminal justice system today as any other type of offense perpetrated by criminals in the United States. In light of this reality, more and more resources are being engaged to address matters of cyber of security.
When people hear the phrase ‘cybersecurity’ they often think of highly encrypted government files, military secrets and big, dark rooms filled with monitors and people speaking in code. That’s part of it, but now the mission is expanding.
“Operation in Our Sites” is an ongoing mission to protect U.S. consumers against Internet fraud and counterfeiting. Enforcement is being provided by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, and so far they have seized a total of 82 Web domain names.
A domain name is the string of words that appear after the “www” in a Web site name. These names are bought (or leased) by individuals and companies from providers that then register ownership of the name with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
This is one way to track who is operating these sites, but it and other, more complex tasks involve cybersecurity criminal justice experts. So, why is ICE leading the charge?
The Homeland Security Initiative (HSI) is an investigative directorate that falls within the ICE mission, and is responsible for the tracking of counterfeit goods within the U.S. HSI has a domestic and international force and employs more than 10,000 people to carry out its mission.
Some of these criminal justice professionals work in the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Coordination Center and are responsible for managing the ICE commercial fraud program. They employ cybersecurity expertise as well as partner with several other agencies, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Defense Logistics Agency, US Department of State and INTERPOL.
A brief preview of this intra-agency powerhouse speaks volumes as to the potential enforcement possibilities when it comes to consumer fraud being perpetrated on the Internet. This level of cooperation, in fact, will have global reach.
Protecting US consumers from being defrauded, either by losing their money outright or by being sold dangerously inferior goods, is an important mission, and this agency collaboration suggests ICE intends to extend its jurisdiction to seize Web domain names of foreign countries.
If foreign countries agree to partner with the US in the monitoring of these foreign threats, and likewise increase scrutiny of domestic sites, this will create amazing new opportunities in the field of criminal justice.