Smooth Criminals

Manhattan DA Will Launch High-Tech Cybercrime Lab to Sleuth Out Identity Theft and Child Porn

Analyzing big data from bad guys.
 Manhattan DA Will Launch High Tech Cybercrime Lab to Sleuth Out Identity Theft and Child Porn

Mr. Vance

Keeping up with criminals is like keeping up with the Joneses. It often requires making some state-of-the-art purchases. Thus Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is planning on investing $2.4 million in City Council funding into a new High Technology Analysis Unit (HTAU) lab set to launch by the end of next year.

As Speaker Christine Quinn told DNAinfo, it’s all about catching up with the bad guys. “In this day and age, we need to be as sophisticated as the criminals are, using every tool we can,” she said, calling the Internet, “the new crime scene of the modern age.” Law & Order: JavaScript?

The lab will be housed inside the DA’s office in Lower Manhattan, bringing experts and analysts under one roof to “sort through the terabytes of data.” The aim is to uncover evidence of identity theft or sharing child pornography on hard drives or cellphones. Mr. Vance says those types of cybercrimes have doubled in Manhattan over the past five years, leading to a 200 percent spike in the number of computers the DA’s office has had to analyze from 2010 to 2011. About 1,000 cellphones are also processed by the office each year.

Vance pointed to several recent schemes, including the discovery of advanced devices installed in ATMs that skim credit card numbers, and online peer-to-peer music-sharing networks, which perps have used to share images of child criminal sexual assaults.

Mr. Vance also pointed out that nowadays, almost every crime has a technological component, from discusses illegal activity online to tracking cellphones to verify a perp’s location:

“When your cell phone is on, you essentially leave digital breadcrumbs which show where you’ve been,” explained Vance, who said the signals can be “critical to finding where someone was or wasn’t.”

Sort of like the every-company-is-a-tech-company these days adage, only, you know, with felons instead of founders.

Follow Nitasha Tiku on Twitter or via RSS. ntiku@observer.com

Comments

  1. This evidence is circumstantial and the jury was unable to comprehend circumstantial evidence or the concept of reasonable doubt. This evidence would have made no difference because the jury was cognitively limited (nice way of saying STUPID!). They wanted DNA or eyewitnesses or a video. Thank God they didn’t sit on the Scott Peterson case or there would have been no justice for Lacey and her unborn baby. The whole case made me ill. She is a psychopath and I hope no one else is murdered or harmed by her.