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Date: 2000-06-18

Cybercrime-Hype der Kyberei

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Dieses Sittenbild aus den so genannten Cybercrime Classes
aus einer Suburban Law Enforcement Academy in den USA
wird ausnahmsweise im Volltext wieder gegeben. Sehr schön
wird nämlich sichtbar, wie sich die von Seiten der gesetzlich
ermächtigten Behörden invozierten Fälle von Cybercrime bei
näherem Hinsehen in Schall & Rauch verziehen.

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By Lewis Z. Koch Special To Inter@ctive Week

The claim was made at a March 21 news conference
celebrating a gift of goods and services worth $250,000 from
Microsoft and computer manufacturer Omni Tech to the
College of DuPage's Suburban Law Enforcement Academy.

Naperville, Ill., Police Detective Mike Sullivan waxed confident
about how the gift - establishing a new Computer Crimes Lab
- would aid in teaching Illinois police officers to catch
cybercriminals, Internet con artists and pedophiles.

As Kirk Heminger, marketing manager at Omni Tech, recalls,
Sullivan said that in "every class they've ever held, they
[police officer/students] actually catch someone in an act of
perpetrating a crime and, so far, every class that they've had,
one of the students has been able to catch a criminal doing
what they're doing and convict them."

Heminger enthused: "Where can you go to a class where
you can get real hands-on experience like that? You're
actually convicting criminals in a classroom!" He added that
Sullivan and Randy James, the academy's director, "admit to
you any time that if you're a supersmart hacker-type guy,
they're probably not going to catch you. Randy told us: 'We
just want to catch the dumb ones.' "

Sullivan, who teaches the computer crime class, told those
gathered at the celebration that his police officer/students
would pose as children and log on to pornographic Web sites
or chat rooms where Internet pedophiles prey on the young;
once the predators reveal themselves, they can be
investigated and arrested.

Catching those who use the Internet to victimize children is a
worthy cause. So, too, is protecting children from being
tortured, even murdered, by their parents or caretakers. In a
world of limited police resources, should cops be patrolling
cyberspace for "dumb" pedophiles, or real space, stopping
parents who, by the hundreds of thousands each year, maim
and murder their own children?

Show me

I wanted to attend class and see what the students did, what
they were taught - exactly - so that I could inform the public
where its resources are going and to what ends. If the public
wants to hunt down the "dumb ones," so be it. But the public
should know a choice exists between catching the dumb
ones and the more difficult task of catching the smart ones -
the hackers capable of wreaking havoc on the Internet, using
computers to steal millions, if not billions, of dollars.

When Sullivan claimed that it was easy to track someone
down - as easy as checking on a license plate - I wanted to
see him do it, or see someone in class do it. And I had other
questions: What was being taught about the legal concept of
entrapment? What about maintaining the scientific validity of
the computer forensic evidence to ensure its admissibility in

So, can I attend school?

No. No civilians allowed; only "sworn police officers."

Finally, I was told I could come to class - for one hour on one
day, and four hours on another. That wasn't satisfactory. If I
was going to write fairly about the class, then I had to attend
all the class sessions. I wouldn't review a book without
reading it in its entirety, nor would I critique a class having
only attended part of it.

I changed my tack: I asked to see James' and Sullivan's
curriculum vitae. Would anyone refuse to provide his or her
educational and professional background on the grounds of
competency or excellence? James and Sullivan refused.

Student evaluations of previous classes? No.

Oh, yeah, and those student-caught cybercriminals Sullivan
had bragged about?

Naperville's Chief of Police, David E. Dial, Sullivan's boss,
didn't know of any such arrests, nor did Dial's second-in-
command. According to Dial, Naperville's serious crime rates
"are incredibly low when compared to the national average."
Dial noted the department does receive complaints "about
the way we handle parking enforcement."

What's more, the DuPage County prosecutor's office couldn't
cite any arrests or convictions stemming from the work of the
Academy's cybercrime class, nor could the Illinois Attorney
General's office.

College President Michael Murphy listened to my requests
for information for more than half an hour and said he would
get back to me that day. He didn't. He hasn't.

The entire Illinois education bureaucracy refused to answer
any requests for information about the college or the
Suburban Law Enforcement Academy, all the way up to and
including the governor's office. The College of DuPage Board
of Trustees? Five of seven members failed to return a phone
call; they still hadn't called a week later. One had an unlisted
number. One returned the call, and said she would
investigate and have Murphy call me back. Never happened.

Who's overseeing the classroom teaching, the curriculum?
No one at the college - no one in the state, it appears. This
cybercrime course seems to be accountable to no one.

Finally, one who gets it

James L. Fisher is a world-class educator who writes about
leadership and organization in higher education. His book,
The Power of the Presidency, was nominated for a Pulitzer
and his latest book, Presidential Leadership: Making a
Difference, was hailed as a must-read for college presidents
and boards of trustees. Fisher's writing is also published in
The New York Times.

Fisher and five others from across the country did a review of
the College of DuPage, which, since its founding in 1967, has
become the largest single-campus community college in the
U.S. It has graduated more than 0.5 million students and has
a budget of more than $124 million.

The review was tough, but fair, and included both praise for
and scathing denouncements of the college, which the
authors felt had the potential to be first-rank, but was instead
vacillating between excellence and mediocrity.

I told Fisher that I had wanted to sit in on the cybercop class.
There was absolutely no equivocation, no hesitation, when he
said: "I think it's something worthy of investigation and
reporting. I don't disagree at all with what you're doing. I think
it's appropriate."

When I recited the efforts the college and the bureaucracy
had undertaken to stymie me, he had a one-word response:

Yes, that's exactly the word for it.

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edited by Harkank
published on: 2000-06-18
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