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History of the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force

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The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) was created in 1937 by the Georgia Legislature to assist local and state criminal law enforcement agencies in criminal investigations at their request. Since 1994 the GBI through the High Technology Investigations Unit (HTIU) has trained and developed investigators who have the skills and knowledge necessary to conduct computer forensics on DOS platform machines. Since 1996, the GBI has trained several HTIU civilian employees and Special Agents in skills and knowledge to analyze not only DOS operated machines but Macintosh machines as well. In 1999 the GBI created the Forensic Computer Laboratory within HTIU and created a new non-sworn position known as forensic computer specialists (FCS) to work in the lab. Four FCS positions were created and two of the HTIU non-sworn positions already doing computer forensics were placed in the FCS positions and two new people were hired. Since 2001 the GBI has trained several Special Agents in skills to conduct investigations of crimes committed over the Internet and the FCSs to conduct computer forensics on computer networks.

Even with all of these advances the GBI and other state agencies realized that no one agency had all of the resources necessary to address cybercrime issues in Georgia. So in December 2000 the GBI partnered with the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) and the Georgia Office of the Attorney General to address this issue. This partnership known as the Georgia CyberCrime Task Force (GCTF) insures that the state has technical, prosecutorial and investigative resources available to address computer crimes and computer forensics. The Task Force is a virtual task with no bricks and mortar. Since the formation of GCTF many other federal, state and local agencies have joined the task force including the FBI, the Secret Service and their Electronic Crime Task Force, Immigration Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.), the Georgia Office of Consumer Affairs, the Secretary of State’s Office, and many local law enforcement agencies and local prosecutor’s offices.

Through and on behalf of the GCTF, Kennesaw State University (KSU) created the Southeastern Cybercrime Institute (SCI) in 2001. KSU’s slogan for this program was “making Georgia the safest place in Cyberspace through education”. The purpose of the Institute was to provide training in the area of Computer Forensics and Cybercrime for members of the criminal justice community including street level officers, investigators and prosecutors. The Institute also provided training in computer systems and network security for professionals already in this field and for those seeking opportunities in these fields. Kennesaw still has cybercrime related programs but SCI no longer exists. Other schools have now joined GCTF including Dekalb Tech.

In 2001 GCTF begin working with educators and others to develop an Internet Safety program for our public schools and the general public. As part of GCTF an educator’s Internet Safety Subcommittee was created to assist other communities and school systems in the development of an Internet Safety program for their area. Part of this initiative included a Web Site and listserve created and maintained by SCI for educators interested in Internet Safety.

Finally in April 2003 the U. S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) provided funding to the GBI for the establishment of a Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Statewide Task Force. Already having an infrastructure in place through the GCTF the GBI used this infrastructure to create the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (Georgia ICAC). Members of the GCTF were automatically included in the mission of Georgia ICAC and Georgia ICAC became a subcomponent of GCTF. This partnership has brought additional training to Georgia law enforcement at all levels of government in the areas of crimes committed against children, computer forensics and cybercrime investigations. The training has been provided through a partnership between Georgia ICAC, OJJDP, the ICAC Training Council and its training arm, Fox Valley Technical College.

With the federal funding Georgia ICAC was able to hire an educator to manage and oversee the Internet Safety Program making the program much more robust and professional. This educator known as the Internet Safety Coordinator (ISC) partnered with many entities to bring Internet Safety programs to our local communities and schools. These efforts developed into a multi agency collaboration between the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, the Georgia Department of Education, the Georgia Public Broadcasting Agency, the Georgia Tech Research Institute, and the DeKalb Public School System called the Georgia Cybersafety Initiative (GaCSI).

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