US failing to prosecute cyber criminals
Researchers claim authorities must do more
The US legal system is failing to bring prosecutions in cyber crime cases despite being presented with thousands of complaints from consumers around online fraud and abuse.
A report this week, Online Consumers at Risk and the Role of State Attorneys General, from two US research organisations, the Center for American Progress and the Center for Democracy and Technology, claims that in 2006 and 2007, authorities were presented with numerous instances of online crime but did not bring prosecute a proportional number of cases.
The report's authors claim that most states supplied a top 10 list ranking consumer complaint categories and in 2007, 24 out of 30 states reported an internet-related category within their top 10.
However, the report claims that too often prosecutions based on complaints about online fraud and abuse tend to concentrate on sexual enticement of minors and child pornography. Such cases accounted for more than 60 percent of the cases highlighted in 2007 and 2006 by the National Association of Attorneys General, the report claimed.
"Online consumers are now at risk," said Ari Schwartz, vice president and chief operating officer at the Center for Democracy and Technology. "Internet crime costs basically nothing to execute, can be highly lucrative, and involves little risk of being caught and punished. We need all 50 state attorneys general focused on this problem. Through committed action and vigorous enforcement, they can provide a powerful and much needed deterrent."