Computer Crimes

Computer crime is any illegal act which involves a computer system whether the
computer is an object of a crime, an instrument used to commit a crime or a
repository of evidence related to a crime. Telecommunication crime is the
fraudulent use of any telephone, microwave, satellite or other
telecommunications system. Many telecommunications systems themselves are
computers and therefore in some instances, offences against a telecommunication
system can also be considered a computer crime. Computers and telecommunications
have become a critical part of the daily lives of Canadians, and criminals have
also been able to take advantage of this technology. The Royal Canadian Mounted
Police is responsible for the investigation of all computer crime offences
within its jurisdiction. It also investigates such crimes where the Government
of Canada is the victim, regardless of primary jurisdiction. In addition, the
RCMP can investigate offences involving organized crime or offences related to
the national interests of Canada.

RCMP Support Staff There are RCMP Commercial Crime Sections is every major city
in Canada. Each one of these units has at least one investigator who has
received specialized training in the investigation of computer crimes. These
investigators are supported by the RCMP Computer Investigative Support Unit (CISU)
located at RCMP Headquarters in Ottawa. CISU can provide technical guidance and
expertise to all Canadian police departments and federal government agencies in
relation to computer and telecommunication crime investigation. Types of Crime
In Canada today, the main types of computer and telecommunication crime are
unauthorized access to computers (hacking), mischief to data, theft of
telecommunications, and copyright violations of software (illegal copying and
distribution of software). In addition, computers are commonly found in many
other types of investigations and these systems must be examined for evidence.

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Types of crime where computer evidence has been located include murder, fraud,
stock market manipulation, pornography, proceeds of crime, and drug importation.

The term computer “hacker refers to an individual who, via a modem or
some other computer communications device, circumvents computer security and
breaks into a computer system. “Hacking” could be roughly equated to a
break and enter. A “hacker” can steal data, sabotage information, or
do nothing but browse. The Scope of the Problem Owing to the technical nature of
computer and telecommunication crime, law enforcement personnel must be properly
trained to conduct such investigations. The Canadian Police College offers three
different computer crime courses covering everything from search and seizure of
computer systems to examination of computers for evidence. These courses are
available to any police agency in Canada as well as to some foreign
investigative agencies. Computer and telecommunication crime is a global
problem. Offences can transcend national boundaries and very often do. For this
reason, the RCMP maintains contact with computer crime investigators around the
world including investigators in the United States and Great Britain. Statistics
on computer crime and telecommunications crime are difficult to accumulate
primarily due to reluctance on the part of victims to report such crime and the
many different jurisdictions in Canada. However, with growing economic losses to
victims, more crimes are being reported to police. Recent losses in relation to
telecommunications crimes have been very large. Some computer criminals operate
on an international scale and in an organized fashion. These criminals can route
their activities through countries where jurisdictional processes and legal
problems can make investigation difficult.