(Senate - June 27, 1995)


Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I rise this evening to introduce the
Anti-electronic Racketeering Act of 1995. This bill makes important
changes to RICO and criminalizes deliberately using computer
technology to engage in criminal activity. I believe this bill is a
reasonable, measured and strong response to a growing problem.
According to the computer emergency and response team at
Carnegie-Mellon University, during 1994, about 40,000 computer users
were attacked. Virus hacker, the FBI's national computer crime squad
has investigated over 200 cases since 1991. So, computer crime is
clearly on the rise.
Mr. President, I suppose that some of this is just natural. Whenever
man develops a new technology, that technology will be abused by some.
And that is why I have introduced this bill. I believe we need to
seriously reconsider the Federal Criminal Code with an eye toward
modernizing existing statutes and creating new ones. In other words,
Mr. President, Elliot Ness needs to meet the Internet.
Mr. President, I sit on the Board of the Office of Technology
Assessment. That Office has clearly indicated that organized crime has
entered cyberspace in a big way. International drug cartels use
computers to launder drug money and terrorists like the Oklahoma City
bombers use computers to conspire to commit crimes.
Computer fraud accounts for the loss of millions of dollars per year.
And often times, there is little that can be done about this because
the computer used to commit the crimes is located overseas. So, under
my bill, overseas computer users who employ their computers to commit
fraud in the United States would be fully subject to the Federal
criminal laws. Also under my bill, Mr. President, the wire fraud
statute which has been successfully used by prosecutors for many
users, will be amended to make fraudulent schemes which use computers
a crime.
It is not enough to simply modernize the Criminal Code. We also
have to reconsider many of the difficult procedural burdens that
prosecutors must overcome. For instance, in the typical case,
prosecutors must identify a location in order to get a wiretapping
order. But in cyberspace, it is often impossible to determine the
location. And so my bill corrects that so that if prosecutors cannot,
with the exercise of effort, give the court a location, then those
prosecutors can still get a wiretapping order. And for law
enforcers--both State and Federal--who have seized a computer which
contains both contraband or evidence and purely private material, I
have created a good-faith standard so that law enforcers are not
shackled by undue restrictions but will also be punished for bad
Mr. President, this brave new world of electronic communications and
global computer networks holds much promise. But like almost anything,
there is the potential for abuse and harm. That is why I urge my
colleagues to support this bill and that is why I urge industry to
support this bill.
On a final note, I would say that we should not be too scared of
technology. After all, we are still just people and right is still
right and wrong is still wrong. Some things change and some things do
not. All that my bill does is say you can't use computers to steal, to
threaten others or conceal criminal conduct.

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