E-commerce raises the threat ante

E-commerce raises the threat ante

One of the CyberSmuggling Center's major challenges is keeping up with constant changes in technology.

'Most of our offices do not even have high-speed access to the Internet,' said Kevin Delli-Colli, director of the Customs Services center. 'They still use dial-up stuff. So you try to juggle training needs and equipment needs constantly.'

Another concern is the growth of electronic-commerce, a billion-dollar-per-year industry that's concentrated in North America, Delli-Colli said. By 2004, e-commerce is expected to reach about $8 billion, with nearly half of that volume outside the United States, he said.

'What you are going to have then is a lot of cross-border transactions,' he said. 'Each time you see an increase in the number of legitimate transactions, traffickers are going to find a way to mask and hide [illegal] goods within that.'

But the center is prepared for the challenge.

'I look at the Internet as our own little world,' Delli-Colli said. 'I think we have the right idea, but this place is not yet fully staffed. We are doing a fairly good job, but like the war on drugs, we are not seizing everything that comes in.'

'Preeti Vasishtha

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