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Corporate Responsibility in Action

Preparing the Next Generation of Cybercrime Prosecutors

Created: 18 Apr 2012
Adam Palmer's picture
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A recent Symantec study calculates the cost of cybercrime at $388 billion annually – more than the global black market in marijuana, cocaine, and heroin combined. Every second, 14 adults become a victim of cybercrime. Yet, there remains a lack of cybercrime information for judges, law enforcement, and prosecutorial staff – the very people charged with assisting and obtaining justice for victims.

The Norton Cybersecurity Institute (NCI) was created to address this education gap. NCI is a coalition of nonprofit partners designed to identify and eliminate cybercrime; facilitate training and collaboration between private industry, law enforcement, and academia; and raise consumer awareness about cybercrime and provide victim education. In early April, we sponsored the first-ever moot court competition focused on preparing law students to prosecute cybercrime.

Held at UCLA School of Law and guided by our partnership with The Society for Policing Cyberspace (POLCYB), the competition included 11 law school teams from across the United States. Students competed by arguing a cybercrime case scenario before mock judges. Judges included law school faculty from across the United States and Canada, as well as senior cybercrime prosecutors form the US Attorney’s Offices in Los Angeles, Seattle, and San Francisco.

The event included four rounds of competition over two days. The case problem was a cybercrime identity theft scheme, and students were required to argue whether police had properly obtained digital evidence of emails about a suspects’ crime. Each student submitted a written brief arguing their position, and also argued their position in front of the panel of mock judges. Each team was required to argue both positions – proper and improper police conduct.

George Washington Law School in Washington, DC won the overall competition, as well as the awards for best brief and best orator.

Cybercriminals can only be stopped by effectively trained law enforcement. With this first effort, Symantec is taking a leadership role in educating the next generation of cybercrime prosecutors, and we look forward to next year's event!

Adam Palmer is Symantec's Norton lead cybersecurity advisor.