IACP University and College Police Section Awards 2007 Scholarship
In May, the University and College Police Section of the IACP awarded Nicholas S. Bader of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with a scholarship in the amount of $1,000. The section’s Scholarship Committee selected Bader for this award because of his outstanding academic efforts and commitment to community.
Nick Bader is a junior criminal justice major at the University of Scranton. Bader has worked for the university’s Public Safety Department since joining the Student Officer Program in his freshman year. He excels academically and is consistently named to the dean’s list.
In addition to his studies, Bader works two part-time positions in order to fund his education. He currently serves the Public Safety Department in the position of corporal and assists in the annual training academy by conducting classes on chain of command and department expectations for new recruits. As a result of its dedication and performance on patrol, Bader’s squad leads the department in compliments from the university community.
The oldest of three children, Bader successfully juggles work, school responsibilities, quality time with family and friends, and volunteering. Bader gives back to the community by working with local elementary students in an after-school program and also serves the Lackawanna County Juvenile Court as a tutor/mentor for students labeled as delinquents. Bader is a certified rescue diver with plans to help out his local fire/ambulance department and in his spare time is studying Arabic, as he sees a need for skilled Arabic linguists in law enforcement.
Bader’s long-term goals include finishing his degree requirements and working as an investigator at the local, state, or federal level.
Members of the University and College Police Section congratulate Nicholas Bader on this award and wish him continued success.
For more information on University and College Police Section scholarships, including applications, please visit www.theiacp.org/div_sec_com/sections/univcoll.htm.
Interpol’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents Database
The use of fraudulent documents by terrorists and other criminals remains one of the most dangerous problems for global security, with stolen blank passports among the most prized resources for those attempting to enter a country under a false identity.
In 2002, Interpol created its Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database with just a few thousand entries from a handful of countries. Today, this database contains information on more than 14 million stolen and lost travel documents from 123 countries, including nearly seven million passports. Searches of this database have resulted in the detection of more than 5,000 people attempting to enter countries with travel documents that had been reported lost or stolen.
In January 2007, a border officer at Monterrey International Airport in Mexico stopped 11 people traveling on Cypriot and Polish passports after becoming suspicious of the reason for their visit. In fact, the travelers were later found to be Iraqis who had come to Mexico via Turkey, Greece, and Spain with the ultimate goal of illegally entering the United States, allegedly to claim asylum. Eight of them were using passports identified as part of a batch of 850 blank passports stolen in Cyprus in 2003 and registered in Interpol’s SLTD database.
Interpol’s technology enables law enforcement anywhere in the world to instantly run a check against the SLTD database. With one single swipe, a border control officer can verify if a document is reported stolen or lost nationally and internationally.
Access to Interpol’s database will be granted to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers by the end of 2007 as a means of enhancing border security. “Clearly the next step is for all border officers at all airports and other points of entry in all countries around the world to be given access to Interpol’s SLTD database, and for the support network to be put in place to ensure that any country registering a hit can immediately receive any necessary follow-up information,” reported Interpol secretary general Ronald K. Noble during his testimony on May 2 before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Homeland Security.
For more information, consult the Interpol Web site at www.interpol.int.
Security for Wireless Networks
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently reported that a standard form of computer network protection against intruders—Wireless Encryption Protocol, or WEP—is increasingly vulnerable to accomplished hackers. This report was generated by the InfraGard program, which brings together public- and private-sector security professionals to share breaking information on threats and vulnerabilities, particularly with regard to the Internet. Computer hackers in Europe are reported to have developed a method for cutting through the security provided by the WEP within a matter of seconds—and these hackers are reportedly ready to share that secret.
“We knew once that information got out—and it most likely would—these vulnerabilities were going to be exploited,” said Paul Daymond, the media representative from the FBI Birmingham office who helped coordinate an announcement on the issue recently. “So we wanted to get the word out quickly.”
What is WEP? In layman’s terms, it is one way computers try to keep unauthorized users from tapping into an authorized user’s wireless network. A wireless network is more vulnerable to outside hackers than a closed network, which physically connects computers with cables.
WEP is generally the lowest level of security that comes with a new wireless network. Hackers have been improving their ability to get around the security settings in WEP for years. They know that most people do not bother to set up password protection, and when they do, they usually simply use the default.
That can be a boon to “war drivers,” people who drive around looking for unsecured wireless Internet access points to hijack. After they tap into the connection, they can do all sorts of things—including illegally sending spam or pilfering the computer’s data.
Local law enforcement agencies may get complaints from residents, but most Internet subscribers will not even know if these hackers have gained access until illegal activities are carried out on their network. The hacker may be a couple houses over or on the next street, even sitting in a car passing through.
The best advice that can be provided to WEP users is to set up password protection and change the default and security settings. More secure protocols include WPA2, TKIP, and AES. If users do not know how to make the changes, they should be advised to check the Web site of their wireless router manufacturer. All of the major companies have Web sites devoted to security.
“There’s a lot of information out there about making your wireless system more secure,” says James E. Finch, assistant director of the FBI Cyber Division. “We recommend taking a layered security approach. That is, throw as many locks on the computer to thwart these hackers as possible.”
VictimLaw—A New Web Site
Today, every state has an extensive body of crime victims’ rights laws within its statutory code. Nearly two-thirds of states have adopted amendments to their state constitutions guaranteeing rights to victims of crime. VictimLaw has been designed as a comprehensive, user-friendly online database of victims’ rights statutes, tribal laws, constitutional amendments, court rules, administrative code provisions, and case summaries of related court decisions that meets the needs of a diverse group of users with different levels of substantive and technological expertise.
VictimLaw was created with support from the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. VictimLaw currently contains legal provisions relating to the following nine core rights of crime victims:
- The right to attend criminal justice proceedings
- The right to apply for compensation
- The right to be heard and participate in criminal justice proceedings
- The right to be informed of proceedings and events in the criminal justice process, of legal rights and remedies, and of available services
- The right to protection from intimidation and harassment
- The right to restitution from the offender
- The right to prompt return of personal property seized as evidence
- The right to a speedy trial
- The right to enforcement of these rights
Most of these provisions apply to a broad category of victims as defined in a particular jurisdiction. For example, the term victim may include all victims of felonies or all victims of violent crime. In some instances, there are additional provisions relating to these core rights that apply only to a special victim population, such as child victims, sexual assault victims, or victims with disabilities.
VictimLaw does not include the extensive compilation of laws relating to protection orders for domestic violence. Those materials are available online, along with forms and guides for victims, at www.womenslaw.org.
In addition, the vast number of provisions relating to child and adult protective services are not contained in the VictimLaw database. Laws relating to child protective services can be found on the child welfare Web site at www.childwelfare.gov. Likewise, laws for adult protective services can be found on the elder abuse Web site at www.elderabusecenter.org.
VictimLaw is a work in progress and is launching in multiple stages. Currently, users can research statutes, constitutional provisions, court rules, and some regulations on crime victims’ rights. In coming months, users will have access to additional regulations, related court decisions, and attorney general opinions pertaining to victims’ rights. VictimLaw will offer continually updated, accurate information in all listed categories.
VictimLaw includes case summaries of officially published appellate court decisions. Initially, the collection includes all relevant opinions of a jurisdiction’s highest court (usually the Supreme Court) issued through 2005. In addition, it contains summaries of other applicable appellate-level cases and attorney general opinions for the past 10 years.
VictimLaw was designed to be a user-friendly database, directing users step by step through their searches. To learn about victim law visit www.victimlaw.info.
United States Comprehensive Strategic Plan to Combat Identity Theft
Identity crime affects millions of Americans every year, costing them billions of dollars. But it goes far beyond the loss of money or property: it is a personal invasion. Identity theft secretly robs people of their good name. Victims can spend months or years rebuilding a damaged credit history as well as their reputation. As a result, the United States has developed a comprehensive strategic plan and established a task force to fight this crime epidemic.
The national comprehensive strategic plan builds upon many years of effort by federal, state, and local partners, as well as the private sector and nonprofit organizations. “Much has been accomplished and there are more protections in place now than ever before; but the President and the Task Force recognized that we need to do more. This new plan represents an important step forward in America’s efforts to fight back against identity theft,” stated Attorney General Alberto Gonzales when announcing the release of the plan with Deborah Platt Majoras, chair of the Federal Trade Commission.
The attorney general noted, “The recently reported public exposure of Social Security numbers by a federal agency is problematic, and serves as a timely reminder that all of us—including the government—must be careful when handling people’s personal information. This is exactly the kind of vulnerability that the task force’s recommendations are designed to help identify and to prevent.”
One of the task force’s primary recommendations is to establish a National Identity Theft Law Enforcement Center. Gonzales noted that identity thieves “do not respect jurisdictional boundaries, and allowing agents and officers across the country to share information will help them connect the dots between seemingly unrelated investigations. That same level of cooperation is necessary with our foreign law enforcement partners as well. A National Identity Theft Law Enforcement Center will make a real difference in our ability to investigate, prosecute, and punish identity thieves.”
The task force also recognized that many criminal statutes have not been updated to allow law enforcement to keep pace with new methods used by identity thieves. As such, the task force recommends a variety of legislative proposals aimed at strengthening identity theft enforcement, including ways to close loopholes in existing laws, giving prosecutors the appropriate tools for charging offenders with identity theft crimes.
For more information visit the Bureau of Justice Assistance Web site at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA .