California: land of sunshine, Stanford, and start-ups, right? The state also apparently has the third-highest number of identity theft complaints per capita. But worry not Californians, an unprecedented new team of Blade Runner-like cyber investigators will protect you.
State Attorney General Kamala Harris announced the largest “eCrime Unit” in the country. The statewide 20-person team of prosecutors and investigators was originally created in August and will be charged with “identifying and prosecuting identity theft crimes, cyber crimes, and other crimes involving the use of technology.”
The new eCrime Unit has jurisdiction over any crime which involves technology at all: Everything your from pedestrian identity theft or phishing scam to piracy concerns to child porn to the “theft of computer components or services.” That’s a lot of crimes! The eCrime Unit’s statewide jurisdiction is also singular. Technology crimes are are usually investigated at the local level, and California is only the the fourth state to take on cyber crime at that level.
So far the unit has charged offenders in 20 cases and is investigating some 20 more, which sounds great but there are some potential pitfalls too. The eCrime unit’s statewide jurisdiction makes sense, but the “anything at all technological” scope could prove problematic. What is and isn’t technological will surely be a matter of debate as the unit goes after cyber criminals up and down the west coast. [NYTimes via John C. Abell]