The University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law partnered with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to host the Cybercrime Symposium, “When Cybercrime Turns Violent and Abusive,” on Friday September 15, 2017.
The 2017 Cybercrime Symposium brought together stakeholders from law enforcement, the legislature, social media platforms, technology companies, victim advocacy groups, the private sector, and academia to address the challenges in combating different types of cyber-facilitated abuse and offenses, including cyberstalking, doxing, harassment, swatting, and sextortion.
Dean Donald Tobin opened the symposium by highlighting the prominence of contemporary cybercrime before introducing the first keynote speaker of the day, Kenneth A. Blanco, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Mr. Blanco’s address set the stage for the day’s proceedings by acknowledging the various forms cybercrime often takes before highlighting two recent U.S. Department of Justice cases (Case 1; Case 2) resulting in convictions for cybercrime.
Maryland Carey Law’s own David Gray, moderated the first panel, which confronted the topic of civil and criminal remedies to cybercrime. There are now more laws than ever protecting victims of cybercrime, but the question remains whether they are sufficient to protect the public. The panelists debating this question included:
The delicate balance between free speech interests and public safety concerns was the topic of the second panel. Just as the first panel addressed the law’s reaction to cybercrime, the second panel debated the competing free speech interests inherent in the debate. Michael Levy, Chief of the Computer Crimes and Child Exploitation Unit at the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Pennsylvania was the moderator. Panelists were:
Annmarie Chiarini of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative gave the lunchtime keynote address. She shared her story of being a victim of nonconsensual pornography, the deficient response by law enforcement, and the inability of the law to protect her. Speaking with a Maryland State Trooper working on her case, he explained the shortcomings of Maryland law to address what happened, prompting Chiarini to reply, “Then I’m going to change the laws.” Since that time, she has testified before both state and federal lawmakers and her testimony has been instrumental in passing bills to protect victims of cybercrime.
With a palpable reminder of the harm that online abuse and cybercrime can do, the third panel of the day took the stage. Frank Lin, Trial Attorney for the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, moderated this panel on the role and responsibilities of social media and technology companies that are in a unique position to help mitigate and prevent cybercrime and abuse. The panel included:
During the final panel of the day, panelists discussed anonymizing technologies, most notably TOR hidden services, and their legitimate and illegitimate uses as well as the costs and benefits of their existence. Anitha Ibrahim, Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice moderated the panel that consisted of:
Andrew McCabe, Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, delivered the symposium’s closing keynote address. Director McCabe addressed the nature of “cyber” as it relates to the FBI’s activities highlighting four points: the priority the FBI places on cybercrimes, the importance of partnerships, the importance of working with victims, and the challenges of technology.
The Cybercrime Symposium was an enlightening event that addressed issues of particular salience in today’s increasingly-technological society, focusing on what could and should be done when cybercrime turns violent and abusive. The panels and keynote addresses from the symposium can be viewed here.