A History Of The Fbi Regional Computing Forensics Laboratory

1219 words - 5 pages

One of the most important aspects of studying a history of a place is why that place came into existence in the first place. The FBI's Regional Computer Forensics Laboratories are perhaps not a terribly well-known entity within the general public, yet they play an essential part in both our justice system, and our everyday lives. So this begs the question, why would a laboratory centered strictly around computers, even more specifically the forensics around computers, come to be in an age where certainly all major government establishments have, and are familiar with, computers and the technology associated within them. These are a few of the questions that will be answered throughout this research paper, along with an analysis of where they are today, and where it appears the future of these labs will take them.
Computer Forensics is defined as “the application of computer investigation and analysis techniques in the interest of determining potential legal evidence” [Nelson, Bill, Phillips, Amelia, Enfinger, Frand, and Stewart, Chris (2004)] and has been prevalent in the law enforcement fields and government agencies since the mid-1980s. [Daphyne Saunders Thomas, Karen A. Forcht(2004)] Yet still, the existence does not justify the cause for the creation, development, and the integration of computer forensics into daily life. An online article from Penn State University goes into the history in more detail. The first actual legislation involving computer crime took place in the Counterfeit Access Device and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in 1984. Among other things, this enforcement made it officially a misdemeanor to obtain financial or credit information through a computer. Because of this laws nature (being a federal legislation) it was a relatively loose definition of a computer crime. This lead to many states (more than half) to create laws that allowed for greater enforcement. Although all of these states had the various laws around computer crimes, much money was found to be lost every single year to computer crimes regardless, somewhere in the neighborhood of $3-5 billion according to a report by Ernst and Whinney. That may seem like an unusually large jump, yet considering how much more available the internet has become in the past 20 years, this is really not that large of a surprise. Fast forward a little bit to the mid 1990’s, and a team from Carnegie-Mellon university found that between 1991 and 1994 the amount of computer crime and intrusions of personal computing networks had increased by 702 percent. This was a large part in the creation of the first ever ‘National Computer Crime Squad’. The reason for this was to devote a team that was solely responsible for computer crimes, and wouldn’t have the limitations of having to multitask on everyday things throughout their existence as a team. More than 200 individual cases were investigated in the first 5 years of the teams’ inception. [No author, PSU.edu, retrieved 2014]
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