DoJ Hopes to Rewrite Cybersecurity Law to Make Prosecuting Non-U.S. Residents Easier
March 30, 2015
The U.S. Department of Justice has set its sights on criminals outside the country’s borders that are selling Americans’ stolen financial information and it wants to change U.S. law to do so. In a recent post on the DoJ’s public-facing blog, the agency outlined the restrictions it faces when trying to prosecute bad actors who live outside the U.S. When trying to build a case against non-residents, “The government has to prove either that an ‘article’ used in committing the offense moved though the United States, or that the criminal is holding his illicit profits in an American bank. But when you steal only digital data, it’s not clear what ‘article’ could be involved.”
To that end, the agency is proposing an amendment to the sweeping cybersecurity bill advanced in January by the White House. The amendment would strike some of the language in the current law making it easier to go after criminals in other countries trafficking in stolen personal information.
“It would permit the United States to prosecute anyone possessing or trafficking in credit card numbers with intent to defraud if the credit cards were issued by a United States financial institution, regardless of where the possession or trafficking takes place,” the agency said. “This kind of jurisdiction over conduct that occurs abroad is fully consistent with international norms and other criminal laws aimed at protecting Americans from economic harm.”