A US Attorney's office in New York said Monday it is forming a Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIPs) unit to specialise in cybercrime.
Five prosecutors will comprise the unit, which is one of 10 CHIPs units within the US created in late July by US Attorney General John Ashcroft. The New York CHIPs unit will focus on a variety of electronic crimes, including Internet and computer fraud, computer system break-ins, trade secrets theft and economic espionage, and criminal copyright and trademark offenses.
"We hope to reinforce the message to would-be criminals that there are no free passes in cyberspace," said Mary Jo White, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. The "perception of lawlessness" created by computer crimes is even more damaging than the economic losses such crimes cause, she said.
White's office has handled several notable Internet crime cases in recent years, including the prosecution of a man accused of breaking into National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) computers, the prosecution of a law firm paralegal for the electronic theft of a trial plan, and a pioneering prosecution of an Internet sports gambling operation.