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Internet Alliance Testifies on Cybercrime

By Damon Marturion
New Business News Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- Today, Jeff Richards, Executive Director of the Internet Alliance, testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary. The hearing, entitled "Cybercrime" was convened against the background of 'distributed denial of service' attacks launched last week against large Internet operators such as Yahoo! and eBay.

The hearing consisted of two panels -- the first composed of FBI Director Louis Freeh and U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, and the second composed of the IA's Jeff Richards, Global Integrity's Mark Rasch, and eBay's Robert Chestnut.

Richards warned against using a "crisis mentality" to justify hasty grants of new authority to enforcement agencies. He noted that the companies affected were on top of the situation within hours. Richards stated that, "in the Alliance's view, the most critical task for government is the enforcement of existing laws against Internet criminals. This is a particular challenge because there are few law enforcement agents with the skills and equipment to efficiently investigate and support prosecution of Internet crimes." For this reason, the IA strongly supports additional federal funding for hiring and training Internet-expert officers for the entire range of Internet criminal activity.

Richards concluded by highlighting the many proactive steps taken by the IA's Law Enforcement and Security Council (LESC). The LESC is a members' forum of experts devoted to promoting industry and law enforcement cooperation in fighting cybercrime. Initiatives include the development of a secure directory of industry and law enforcement contacts and outlining 'best practices' in the areas such as data retention domestically and internationally.

The Internet Alliance is the leading consumer Internet industry association representing the industry on the state, federal and international levels. Through public policy, advocacy, consumer outreach and strategic alliances, the IA is seeking to build the confidence and trust necessary for the Internet to become a leading global market medium of the 21st Century.

Leading members of the Internet Alliance include: America Online, Bell Atlantic, Citibank, Consumers Union, Cox Interactive, Deutsche Telekom, DLJDirect, IBM, MCI WorldCom/UUNET, Microsoft, Prodigy and US West. The IA was recently acquired by The Direct Marketing Association (The DMA), gaining the additional clout and expertise of more than 4500 member businesses in interactive and other marketing.

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