Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act

Tech Target reports that HR 5938 has been sent to the president for signature. This bill was actually written to authorize $4 million a year to pay for the protection of VP Cheney after he leaves office, but it also contains provisions of S 2168 related to cyber-crime:

“The key anti-cybercrime provisions that are included in this legislation will close existing gaps in our criminal law to keep up with the cunning and ingenuity of today’s identity thieves,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), sponsor of S. 2168, said in a prepared statement.

The legislation gives identity theft victims the ability to seek restitution in federal court for the loss of time and money spent restoring their credit. It also enables federal prosecution of cybercrime not involving interstate or foreign communication, and eliminates the requirement that damage to a computer exceed $5,000 before charges can be brought for unauthorized access to a computer. Leahy said the bill protects innocent people from “frivolous prosecutions” by clarifying that the elimination of the $5,000 threshold only applies to criminal cases.

In addition, the bill tackles the botnet problem by making it a felony to use spyware or keyloggers to damage 10 or more computers, regardless of the total amount of damage caused.

The legislation also makes it a crime to threaten to steal data from a computer. This provision expands current law, which only allows prosecution of criminals who try to extort companies by threatening to shut down or damage a computer.

This is big news for investigators and forensics. It also is probably big news to the Cheney family. Given the odd juxtaposition, it is hard not to compare how much money is earmarked for fighting cyber-crime in America versus paying for Cheney’s personal safety.

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