Interplay of Borders, Turf, Cyberspace, and Jurisdiction: Issues Confronting U.S. Law Enforcement [July 19, 2011]   [open pdf - 446KB]

"Savvy criminals constantly develop new techniques to target U.S. persons, businesses, and interests. Individual criminals as well as broad criminal networks exploit geographic borders, criminal turf, cyberspace, and law enforcement jurisdiction to dodge law enforcement countermeasures. Further, the interplay of these realities can potentially encumber policing measures. In light of these interwoven realities, policy makers may question how to best design policies to help law enforcement combat ever-evolving criminal threats. Criminals routinely take advantage of geographic borders. They thrive on their ability to illicitly cross borders, subvert border security regimens, and provide illegal products or services. Many crimes--particularly those of a cyber nature--have become increasingly transnational. While criminals may operate across geographic borders and jurisdictional boundaries, law enforcement may not be able to do so with the same ease. Moreover, obstacles such as disparities between the legal regimens of nations (what is considered a crime in one country may not be in another) and differences in willingness to extradite suspected criminals can hamper prosecutions. The law enforcement community has, however, expanded its working relationships with both domestic and international agencies. […] Congress may question how it can leverage its legislative and oversight roles to bolster U.S. law enforcement's abilities to confront modern-day crime. For instance, Congress may consider whether federal law enforcement has the existing authorities, technology, and resources--both monetary and manpower--to counter 21st century criminals. Congress may also examine whether federal law enforcement is utilizing existing mechanisms to effectively coordinate investigations and share information."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R41927
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