House Advances Cyber Crime Bill

By Darryl Drevna

On November 30, by voice vote, The House passed the Strengthening State and Local Cyber Crime Fighting Act (H.R. 3490), which formally authorizes the Department of Homeland Security to create a National Computer Forensics Institute (NCFI).  The U.S. Secret Service will operate the institute, which will train and equip state and local law enforcement, prosecutors and judges on investigating cyber threats and forensic examinations of mobile devices.  

The NCFI was created in 2008, but it was never formally authorized. In 2007, the State of Alabama proposed to construct a facility for training for state and local law enforcement on cyber crimes.  In return, the state asked that the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security operate the facility.  The legislation codifies how the institute operates and requires it to disseminate information on the investigation and prevention of cyber crime.  House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said the NCFI is a “vital” part of addressing cyber crime, which he said has the ability to affect “national security, economic prosperity and public safety.”  The bill now heads to the Senate.