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New Cybercrime Unit Announced at Conference

December 9, 2014 — On December 4, Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell used her appearance at the Law Center as part of the “Cybercrime 2020: The Future of Online Crime and Investigations” conference to announce the creation of a new cybersecurity unit within the criminal division of the Department of Justice.

“Given the growing complexity and volume of cyberattacks, as well as the intricate nature of the laws and investigatory tools that are needed to thwart these attacks, the cybersecurity unit will play an incredibly important role,” said Caldwell, who heads the Department of Justice’s criminal division. “According to data included in the 2013 Norton Report [an annual research study on the dangers and costs of cybercrime], there will be more than 14,000 additional victims of cybercrime before I have finished this speech in 15 minutes.” 

The all-day conference included panel discussions on the high tech crimes of tomorrow, legislating the crimes of the future, the evolution of public/private engagement and a keynote address by Troels Oerting, director of the European Cybercrime Center. 

In a lively discussion on the future of Fourth Amendment moderated by Professor Laura Donohue, Professor David Cole sparred with Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit (who joined the conference remotely). In answer to Posner’s questioning why the digital information found in a smartphone needs to be protected unless its owner has something to hide, Cole responded, “Even if you don’t have anything to hide and you live a life that could be entirely transparent to the world, I still think the value of that life would be significantly diminished if it had to be transparent.”

 Cole and Posner agreed on the importance of protecting the sort of information that would, for instance, reveal membership in Alcoholics Anonymous. “That’s the type of private information that should be protected,” Posner said.

Another panelist, Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben, who argued for the government in the recent Supreme Court case Riley v. California (in which the justices ruled unanimously that police must get a warrant before searching a cell phone), said, “A certain degree of privacy is perhaps a precondition of freedom — political freedom, artistic freedom, personal autonomy. … It’s sort of baked into the nature of the democratic system. You need that to have a flourishing of individual life.”

The conference was sponsored by Georgetown Law and the Department of Justice's Criminal Division and organized by Professor Laura Donohue and Adjunct Professor Leonard Bailey of the Department of Justice. Professor David Vladeck moderated one of the panels. 

To watch a C-SPAN recording of this event click here.

To watch a webcast of this event click here

 

 

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