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AG (202) 616-2777 TDD (202) 514-1888

ADMINISTRATION, CONGRESS INTRODUCE NEW COMPUTER CRIME LEGISLATION WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Attorney General Janet Reno today announced that the Clinton Administration, along with Senators John Kyl, Patrick Leahy, and Charles Grassley has introduced legislation dramatically increasing federal protections of data confidentiality. Current law protects the confidentiality of financial information. Today's legislation would protect all government data against access without permission, as well as criminalizing access by government employees who exceed their authority to gain access to government data. "As technology advances, computer crime has grown," said Reno. "We have to ensure that the law keeps up with changing times." With the phenomenal growth of legitimate computer use has come a similar growth in computer crime and the problem of "hackers" who break into computer networks without authority to steal information or damage computer systems. In addition to penetrating telephone networks to disrupt phone service and wiretap calls, many hackers attack government and private computers to steal valuable (MORE) information. According to the Computer Emergency Response Team at Carnegie Mellon University, during the past four years, the number of reported intrusions on the Internet has increased 498 percent, and the number of computer sites affected has increased 702 percent. "Computer crime is fast becoming everyone's problem," said Reno. "I'm encouraged that this bill is off to a bipartisan start, and I hope Congress will move quickly to enact it." The new Act provides three new tools to address this problem: þ More computers would be protected by federal law. Under the new law, a "protected computer" would be defined as any government computer, financial institution computer, or any other computer used in interstate or foreign commerce or communications. Under current law, computers are not adequately protected from foreign hackers, and no federal jurisdiction can be obtained when the hacker's and the victim's computers are located in the same state. þ Under the new law, all government data would be protected, and the federal government could prosecute individuals who access government data for their own use. Additionally, private data would be protected when hackers steal information from computers located across state or national borders. Currently, only financial data and classified information are strictly protected from improper access. The integrity and availability of data would be better


protected under the new law because it ensures that all hackers are punished adequately. Current law provides penalties for intentional damage, but hackers who recklessly or accidently damage information or systems face little or no penalties. ### 95-370