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From: InfoSec News (isn_at_c4i.org)
Date: Wed Jul 17 2002 - 08:45:14 CDT
By JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (July 16, 2002 10:38 a.m. EDT) - Preparing the nation for
future cyberattacks, the House voted Monday to increase penalties for
computer crimes and make it easier for Internet service providers to
disclose dangerous material to government agencies.
The legislation also states that immediate threats to national
security should be included among emergency instances where law
enforcement can tap into computer communications. It passed 385-3.
Many think of cybercrime as a form of vandalism, but "it can devastate
our businesses, economy or national infrastructure," said Rep. Lamar
Smith, R-Texas, the chief sponsor. "A mouse can be just as dangerous
as a bullet or a bomb."
Some provisions broaden language in a far-reaching anti-terrorism bill
signed into law last fall after the Sept. 11 attacks.
The bill exempts from civil or criminal liability Internet service
providers who disclose communications to government offices in the
good-faith belief in the existence of an emergency that poses danger
of death or serious physical injury.
Electronic surveillance tools known as "pen registers" and "trap and
trace devices" can be used for 48 hours while court authorization is
sought if an immediate threat to national security exists or an attack
is under way on protected computers. Such devices allow law
enforcement to find the source or destination of computer
communications without capturing the content.
The bill doubles to 20 years' imprisonment the maximum penalty for
knowingly attempting to cause serious injury through a cyberattack.
Attempts to cause death are punishable by up to life in prison.
To meet privacy considerations, the bill says agencies must report to
the Justice Department within 90 days after getting access to
The legislation, which requires Senate action, also would move the
National Infrastructure Protection Center from the FBI to the planned
Homeland Security Department to respond to cyberattacks. The Office of
Science and Technology would become an independent agency at the
Justice Department to develop technologies to help law enforcement.
The White House, in a statement, said it did not object to the
legislation but opposed moving the Office of Science and Technology
from its current place in the National Institute of Justice.
The bill is H.R. 3482.
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