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California makes moves to focus on Internet crimes

Many Californians probably think of this state as the center of the world for all things Internet. Silicon Valley is known worldwide for all that the area offers and the concentration of wealth in the area, but the same thing that was true during the gold rush days is true today: trouble follows the money.

The state attorney general's office now has an eCrime unit, which investigates Internet crimes, such as identity theft and credit card fraud. This type of criminal charge can be hard for authorities to pursue, mainly due to a lack of resources and talent to track down alleged criminals. But, with the eCrime unit involved, it appears that California has made the investigation and prosecution of Internet crimes a priority.

According to a recent report, the Federal Trade Commission has previously named California as the top state for identity theft complaints. And even though technology firms like Facebook and Google claim they are doing their share to prevent identity-related crimes using their website services, some claim that there is more that can be done. The head of the eCrime unit has stated that one of the number one problem areas is with user passwords and email addresses. The simple use of these two details could lead to all kinds of headaches.

While the government takes steps to make the Internet more secure for all Californians, it is easy to forget that many of the people they investigate or prosecute may not have actually done anything wrong. Internet crimes are a relatively new occurrence in criminal law, and the legal precedent is just now evolving.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, "The Public Eye: California battles identity theft, cybercrime from AG's office," Claudia Buck, Aug. 19, 2012

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