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Law enforcement officials ask for more tools to go after cyber crimes

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Law enforcement and information technology experts urged state lawmakers Tuesday to press for tougher cyber crime laws and to provide more resources to make it easier to fight Internet criminals from sexual predators to identification thieves.

Deputy Honolulu Prosecutor Chris Van Marter, head of the White-Collar Crime Unit, said the lack of retention of cyber records makes it difficult for law enforcement to track down those who’ve committed cyber crimes. In some instances, deleted text messages can be wiped clean by a provider within 48 hours making it impossible for investigators to see any "paper" trail.

That’s especially difficult when criminals use easily available "spoofing" software that could pretend to be originating from one, ostensibly trusted Internet source when it is coming from someone trying to commit fraud or another cyber crime.

Cell phone and Internet Service Providers are not required to retain electronic records including text messages and e-mails. A bill pending before Congress would require the companies to retain information for at least two years, Van Marter said. He urged state lawmakers to push for its passage.

While the bill has received bipartisan support, the bill has fallen by the wayside as congressional leaders deal with more pressing,economic concerns, Van Marter said.

He also urged the Legislature to enact penalties against Internet criminals that are as harsh as those against identity theft criminals, noting that Internet crimes are on the uptick.


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