Senators offer bill to boost police training in cyber crime

Senators offer bill to boost police training in cyber crime
© Greg Nash

A bipartisan pair of senators introduced legislation on Friday that would expand law enforcement training in digital forensics to combat cyber crime.

The bill, introduced by Sens. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyRepublicans jockey for position on immigration House clears bill to combat crimes against elderly Grassley: DACA deal wouldn't need border wall funding MORE (R-Iowa) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGun proposal picks up GOP support Gingrich: Banning rapid fire gun modification is ‘common sense’ House bill set to reignite debate on warrantless surveillance MORE (D-Calif.), would for the first time authorize the National Computer Forensics Institute (NCFI), a federally funded training center in Hoover, Ala., that trains state and local officials in investigating cyber and electronic crime.

Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) has already introduced companion legislation in the House.   

Grassley and Feinstein serve as the chair and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, respectively. 

Grassley emphasized that the bill would help prepare law enforcement officials to use new digital forensics in investigations. 

“By authorizing this training center, this legislation helps to equip law enforcement from agencies across the country, including in Iowa, with the tools and training to dust for ‘digital fingerprints’ and utilize computer forensics to gather evidence and solve cases,” Grassley said in a statement. 

The institute, which was established in 2008, has trained law enforcement officials, prosecutors and judges from state and local agencies across the country. It is run by the Secret Service’s criminal investigative division in partnership with the Alabama Office of Prosecution Services. 

“More than 200 law enforcement officers from California have visited the National Computer Forensics Institute for training on how to appropriately handle digital forensic evidence,” Feinstein said Friday. 

“Digital technology is used to commit a wide range of crimes, from hacking to human trafficking, and the need for specialized training in this area will only grow. The institute will bolster our efforts to combat cybercrime.” 

The legislation has a bipartisan set of co-sponsors in the Senate, including Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Luther Strange (R-Ala.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDem senator: 'How many lives must be lost before we act?' Sen. Manchin won’t vote for Trump’s mine safety nominee Overnight Regulation: SEC chief grilled over hack | Dems urge Labor chief to keep Obama overtime rule | Russia threatens Facebook over data storage law MORE (D-R.I.).

Ratcliffe offered similar legislation that passed the House in 2015, though it was never put up for a vote in the Senate.