House passes bill to help local police fight cyber-crime

Features Associated Press

The House has overwhelmingly passed legislation to help local law enforcement officers get the latest computer forensics training, a timely topic after last Friday's cyber-extortion attack that targeted hospitals, companies and government agencies worldwide.

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The vote was 408-3.

The bill authorizes the National Computer Forensics Institute in federal law, cementing its position as a training facility for police and prosecutors who attend classes at no expense to them or their agency.

The United States Secret Service operates the institute in Alabama. Instructors teach classes on the latest trends in finding and preserving digital evidence.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, says that a drop of blood or strand of hair has increasingly been replaced by proof of a text message or online purchase in helping law enforcement pursue criminals.