Transnational Evidence Gathering and Local Prosecution of International Cybercrime


Susan W. Brenner & Joseph J. Schwerha IV


VOL. XX • Spring 2002 • NO. 3 (table of contents)

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By analyzing two high-profile cybercrime cases, the authors discuss legal and procedural issues involved when gathering evidence across national borders. In US v. Gorshkov, the FBI was asked to investigate a series of intrusions into the computer systems of businesses in the US from Russia. The second incident is when system administrators at the Rom Air Development Center at Griffis Air Force Base in New York discovered hackers had installed password sniffer programs on all system networks. One of the hackers was identified to be a British citizen.

The first thing to start a transnational evidence gathering is to determine what formal and informal devices are available to search for and/or seize evidence located in another country. Then, he needs to identify any mutual legal assistance treaty between the US and the target country. Third, it is critical to determine whether the evidence being sought pertains t conduct that is illegal in the target country. The Department of State, the National Institute of Justice's International Center, Interpol, the United Nations, to name a few, provide excellent resources to assist investigators in a wide range of information.

Even with these tools and resources, the authors are quick to point out the difficulties that prosecutors face in investigating cybercrimes. The crimes are no longer local or regional. The DA's offices lack funding and proper protocols to meet such international challenges. In addition, without strategic planning, local prosecutors are in a uphill battle against cybercrimes.

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