DOJ to place more officials overseas to combat cyber crime

DOJ to place more officials overseas to combat cyber crime
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The Department of Justice plans to embed a prosecutor within the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) to better combat hackers, who often strike the U.S. from across the Atlantic.  

“This assignment is a sign of the importance we attach to Eurojust, Europol and EC3, and we look forward to assessing together whether this should be a permanent arrangement in the future," Attorney General Loretta Lynch told EC3 officials Wednesday at The Hague.

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The placement is just one part of the increasing partnership between U.S. and European law enforcement.

In July, the two teams worked together with to bring down an elite, underground hacking forum known as Darkode, arresting dozens of members around the globe.

And last November, the two teamed up to lead a major bust of dark market websites operating on the largely anonymous Tor network selling narcotics, firearms, stolen credit card data, fake passports and hacking tools.

Lynch said these victories for law enforcement are possible, in part, by increasing cooperation.

The FBI, she noted, has placed three new permanent Cyber Assistant Legal Attachés in foreign offices, including London, Ottawa and Canberra, Australia.

“Those attachés are embedded in law enforcement and intelligence agencies in their host nations to help facilitate information-sharing, improve cooperation on investigations and build even stronger relationships with our allies,” Lynch said.

The FBI plans to add four more permanent attachés in the coming year, Lynch added, “and I expect the number will continue to grow into the future.”

The attorney general also talked up a recent “umbrella agreement” that would allow U.S. and European Union law enforcement officials to exchange more data.

The deal, Lynch said, “will enhance the ability of law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies on both sides of the Atlantic to combat crime and terrorism while protecting personal privacy.”

“While efficiency, information-sharing and effective law enforcement represent paramount objectives, we must also make certain that we are protecting the privacy and civil liberties of our people,” she added.

But the deal is contingent on Congress passing a bill, the Judicial Redress Act, that would give EU citizens the right to enforce their data protection rights in U.S. courts.

The House Judiciary Committee is set to markup the lower chamber’s version on Thursday.