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What is the federal Internet Crime Center (IC3)?

It might seem to most reasonable people that the Internet truly is ubiquitous. It took off as a global phenomenon a generation ago, and it is seemingly at the center of much of life in today's world.

People use information technologies imbedded in the Internet to do just about everything imaginable. They bank and shop online, send photos, submit resumes, check their mail, order movie tickets, do research, date and listen to music.

And some of them commit crimes.

Computer-assisted wrongdoing often goes by the tag of "cybercrime" these days, which applies to a most comprehensive spanning of activities. We reference some of them on our criminal defense website at the Bay Area Law Office of John W. Noonan. They range broadly from identity theft and unauthorized access to hacking and invasion of privacy.

To simply note that state and federal law enforcers are aware of cybercrime and proactively engaged in uncovering it and prosecuting individuals who commit computer-based crimes would not adequately reflect the strength and tenor of investigators' efforts in challenging this type of criminal activity.

In fact, the FBI and myriad state and federal task forces are acutely focused on cybercrime, devoting substantial time, energy and money toward thwarting it.

And often "the first piece of the investigative puzzle" in doing that, notes one FBI principal, is the agency's so-called Internet Crime Center (IC3), which is a special internal division that receives information regarding cybercrime and then, as appropriate, uses it "to open new investigations or enhance existing ones."

As a recent article on the IC3 stresses, the unit does not conduct investigations itself but, rather, ensures that relevant information is passed along to state and federal investigators who do.

The FBI is currently conducting a nationwide billboard campaign aimed at educating the public about the IC3 and promoting citizens' contacts where cybercrime is concerned.

Computer crime is unquestionably a heightened national security concern these days, with increasingly more people being targeted by authorities in criminal investigations.

Those individuals have legal rights and often need to invoke them in earnest when challenged by the power and authority of government investigators and law enforcers. Questions regarding any aspect of cybercrime can be directed to a proven criminal defense attorney with demonstrated experience in advocating on behalf of persons targeted in a computer-based investigation.

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