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

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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.

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.