Internet site targets online crime


Friday, September 22nd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


PLANO – The Texas attorney general's office, seeking to become the central contact in the state for Internet-related crime, on Thursday activated a portion of its Web site where consumers can report suspected illegal activity.


"A lot of people who have problems don't really know where to turn," Attorney General John Cornyn said at a news conference at the headquarters of Electronic Data Systems Corp. in Plano.


Consumers can report suspected online fraud, child pornography, gambling, pyramid schemes and privacy breaches to the new Texas Internet Bureau using electronic forms from the attorney general's Web site, www.oag.state.tx.us/ internet/inbhome.htm. Consumers may also telephone the office at 1-800-252-8011.


Although complaints about Internet-related crime have only been trickling into his office so far, Mr. Cornyn said he expected that the traffic would increase dramatically once the public knows to turn to his office.


The Texas Internet Bureau will cooperate with federal and local law-enforcement authorities on cybercrime, Mr. Cornyn said.


The attorney general announced the formation of the Texas Internet Bureau in July. On Thursday, he offered some new details. The bureau received $800,000 in a state grant, much of which will be spent on computer equipment. It will employ a staff of 10, including attorneys and investigators, as well as technical and administrative support.


Reid Wittliff, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Dallas who specializes in cybercrime issues, will head the Texas Internet Bureau.


The chief investigator will be Mike Marshall, who has assisted various law-enforcement agencies investigating online child pornography.


Matthew Yarbrough, a former federal cybercrimes prosecutor who now works with the Vinson & Elkins law firm in Dallas, will serve as a special adviser to the attorney general on Internet issues.