The Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS)

The Center for Education and Research in
Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS)

Richard Downing - US Department of Justice

Students: Spring 2024, unless noted otherwise, sessions will be virtual on Zoom.

How the Criminal Law Must Adapt to the Networked World

Apr 04, 2007


Advances in communications technology have caused obvious
changes in our society. At the same time, criminals have used the new
technology to commit both new crimes and "traditional" ones. At times,
the evolution of criminal activity has outstripped the ability of
criminal laws to address it. Mr. Downing will provide a perspective on
these issues, with examples such as botnets, transnational crimes, and
illegal wiretapping.

About the Speaker

Richard W. Downing is the Assistant Deputy Chief for Technology
and Procedural Law at the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property
Section at the United States Department of Justice in Washington D.C.
In that role, he addresses a wide variety of complex legal and policy
issues that arise with the advance of new technologies. Mr. Downing
specializes in the procedural rules that govern the collection of
electronic evidence by law enforcement and in online undercover
operations, including investigations into computer hacking, software
piracy, Internet fraud, and credit card theft.

    Mr. Downing also supervises cybercrime legislative issues. He
participates in statutory and policy development relating to the
modernization of the federal computer hacking statute and the
development of electronic evidence gathering laws. For example, in
he participated in the development of the parts of the USA PATRIOT Act
that relate to computer crime and electronic evidence. Mr. Downing
regularly trains investigators and prosecutors on the legal and policy
implications of emerging technologies and related criminal conduct.

    Mr. Downing graduated summa cum laude from Yale University in
1989 with a B.A. in political science, and in 1992 he received a J.D.
from Stanford Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Stanford
Journal of International Law. Prior to joining the Department of
Justice, Mr. Downing served as an Assistant District Attorney in

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