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House committee OKs bill to help states fight cyber crime

The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would authorize the Secret Service to train state and local law enforcement officials on combating cyber crime.

The Strengthening State and Local Cyber Crime Fighting Act, from Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), is an attempt to close the gap between federal and local cyber-crime-fighting capabilities.

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Ratcliffe called his offering a “much-needed bill that will help law enforcement fight back against increasingly sophisticated cyber crimes.”

“It is imperative that we equip them to address these challenges in an effort to protect the most vulnerable from being exploited,” added Ratcliffe, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies.

Specifically, the measure would direct the National Computer Forensics Institute (NCFI) — part of the Secret Service — to educate local law officers, prosecutors and judges on all aspects of computer crime, from conducting computer and mobile device examinations to investigating cyberattacks.

The NCFI has already trained personnel from more than 500 different law enforcement agencies, but Ratcliffe said his bill would give it the proper oversight and accountability.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteRosenstein to appear for House interview next week Fusion GPS co-founder pleads the Fifth following House GOP subpoena House Judiciary chairman threatens to subpoena Rosenstein MORE (R-Va.) said the NCFI would benefit from clear congressional mandate.

“Authorizing the existing National Computer Forensics Institute in federal law will cement its position as our nation’s premier hi-tech cyber crime training facility,” the Virginia Republican said.

Congress has been scrambling to pass legislation that would help reduce the deluge of cyberattacks that have hit both the private sector and government.

The House in April passed two complementary bills that would boost the exchange of data on hackers between the private sector and government. The Senate is expected to consider its complementary piece of legislation sometime in October.