Good Example Of Case Study On FBI Techniques
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This paper is a brief study of the 2000 cyber crime case involving Aleksey Vladimirovich Ivanov and Vasiliy Gorshkov from Russia. The FBI used an elaborate ruse to get Ivanov and Gorshkov to travel to the U.S. under the pretext of job interviews. When the two Russian hackers were presented in court, the defendants contested that they had been illegally charged to a crime that happened in the U.S. while they were still in Russia (Jahnke, 2005). They also stated that the FBI had no jurisdiction to even charge them with the crime. However the court saw it otherwise since all the criminal activity orchestrated by the defendant took effect on U.S. soil. In addition, the defendants were charged under a clause that provided the FBI with jurisdiction to pursue the beyond U.S. boundaries. Eventually, Ivanov and Gorshkov pled guilty to several charges of cyber criminal activity and received thirty six month jail terms each (Leyden, 2002).
FBI's investigative techniques - Did they go too far?
The FBI utilized the substantive offense clause coined in by Congress to bring Ivanov and Gorshkov to justice. The FBI did what was necessary to bring a pair of cyber criminals who were costing the U.S. economy millions of dollars. Moreover, this was not the first instance of using a honeypot to lure a hacker into a trap. In fact the very first cyber criminal was also trapped while he was working out of a small apartment in France. In the matter of a warrant to collect evidence; warrants are required when there is probable cause however when hackers are caught red-handed, there is no requirement for a warrant. The FBI did not go too far since the country in question was Russia. If Ivanov and Gorshkov were based out of Australia or even India, the FBI might have been able to secure an arrest with the assistance of local law enforcement.
Did the FBI act under the color of any international laws or compacts, or did they "go off the reservation”?
The FBI acted in accordance to the law of the land, the United States. They had clearance through the substantive offense clause that provided them with longer arms to ensnare the defendants. Every country has laws pertaining to their culture and politics. The FBI did not compel the defendants to attend the interviews. They came down to the U.S to attend the interviews on their own accord. Moreover, the Fourth Amendment of the United States refers the law only for US citizens (Cornell University Law School, 2015). Hence there is no question of going off the reservation for this case.
Do the FBI's actions stand up to scrutiny under current US cyber laws?
The cyber laws of this land were formulated with advice from the CIA and the FBI. There were specific laws pertaining to piracy. Piracy costs millions of dollars in revenue for the U.S. economy. Moreover, the perpetrators often resided in a foreign country and often without any extradition treaties. Hence, the laws were framed to suit the need to curb this menace keeping in consideration that the location of the perpetrator might be in a distant land beyond U.S. boundaries.
Moreover the Patriot Act has added extra tooth to any U.S. Law enforcement agency to monitor, extract evidence and formally arrest the perpetrator. The issue of boundaries no longer poses any limitation on the reach of global criminals who usually hide behind mirror servers while they are actually thousands of miles away.
Have there been other, more recent examples of cases in which US law enforcement targeted non-US citizens in a similar manner?
There have been several drug related arrests and killings over the years where the DEA or FBI lured the defendant using an undercover or sting operation. The most recent case of U.S. Law enforcement agencies targeting non-US citizens would be the hunting down of Osama Bin Laden. Bin Laden was the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. He was the reason for the Afghanistan war during the early 2000s. He went underground and vanished from the face of the planet during the closing stages of the battle with the Taliban. Pakistan was a partner to the U.S. during the campaign and the subsequent war on terrorism. However, some sections of the military were sympathetic to Bin Laden and hid him in a military safe house at Abbottabad.
Operation Neptune Spear on 2 May 2011 ended Bin Laden’s existence. It was a quiet attack and caught even the Pakistan Army by surprise. They were in fact scrambling jets to intercept the Helicopter bound Seal Team. Although it was the Navy Seals who exterminated this ruthless terrorist, the FBI and the CIA contributed significantly to bring a close to the decade long manhunt. In this case however, there was direct incursion into the boundaries of another country and without any prior information. However, prior information would have let Bin Laden escape once more.
The anti-terrorism laws enabled us to invade another country, arm the local rebel population and bring down their empire of terror.
What, if any, are the positive or negative impacts of this case on subsequent cyber-crime investigations?
The laws should be interpreted correctly to understand the purpose underlining it. The Ivanov and Gorshkov hacking case provided a base for the Patriot Act’s structure (Department of Justice, 2015). This act has been responsible for uncovering and undermining several terror establishments by freezing their funding. However the significant downside of this law has been the intrusive behavior on part of law enforcement agencies into personal email accounts and banking information of law abiding citizens. The statutes of law that guarantee privacy to the citizens of the United States of America have been undermined by spying programs. A country that has courts that throw out even murder trials for want of proper procedural protocol is now subject to spying without reason and without permission from anybody is a frightening predicament. Especially if the spies are part of the law enforcement fraternity that are expected to protect us from such misdemeanors.
The case of the Russian hackers started a sequence of events that have led to the enactment of the Patriot Act. This act has provided law enforcement to snare perpetrators and harm the interest of several law abiding citizens also. Moreover, the information that the law enforcement agencies have unauthorized access today has everyone wonder if it might have been more profitable to have let the Russian kids get away with mischief. The U.S. and her allies have constantly lived under the threat of the next major terrorist attack.
The attacks never came and even when they manifested themselves, it was not in any way close to the magnitude of 9/11. What has changed? Why do radicalized Americans attack America and not trained Islamic terrorists from the middle-east?
The answer to these questions is the unauthorized spying. It has been so successful that terror groups virtually shudder to pass information through the internet; their fastest mode of communication. This provides law enforcement agencies the crucial time they require to thwart deadly games set to be played out. Finally, although we might have lost our war against drugs, we have surely triumphed over in our war against terror.
Leyden, John (2002). FBI sting snares top Russian crackers. Retrieved from: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/10/07/fbi_sting_snares_top_russian/
Cornell University Law School (2015). The Fourth Amendment. Retrieved from: http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fourth_amendment
Jahnke, Art (2005). Alexey Ivanov and Vasiliy Gorshkov: Russian Hacker Roulette. Retrieved from: http://www.csoonline.com/article/2118241/malware-cybercrime/alexey-ivanov-and-vasiliy-gorshkov--russian-hacker-roulette.html
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