A team effort against ID theft

Secret Service, Marshals Service join non-profit to combat identity theft

The U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Marshals Service have joined a consortium of academic institutions and corporate entities to combat identity theft and other identity management problems.

The Center for Applied Identity Management Research (CAIMR) will focus on researching real-world security problems, providing practical solutions and best-practice recommendations. CAIMR is composed of a cross section of experts in various fields, ranging from biometrics and financial crime to cyberdefense and homeland security.

The Secret Service, widely known for its mission to protect the president of the United States and other heads of state, will bring the second half of its dual mission to CAIMR: the investigation of crimes against the U.S. financial infrastructure.

The Secret Service, one of the nation's oldest federal law enforcement agencies, was founded in 1865 as a branch of the Treasury Department to investigate the counterfeiting of U.S. currency. Its mission was expanded to include presidential protection in 1901 after the assassination of President William McKinley. But with its original and continuing jurisdiction over counterfeiting, the Secret Service is capable of supporting CAIMR's goals related to financial crimes that increasingly are perpetrated through electronic methods.

'Cybercrime remains a substantial threat that continues to evolve and [threaten] our financial systems," said Michael Merritt, assistant director of the Secret Service's Office of Investigations, in a recent CAIMR press release. "Successfully combating emerging identity crimes requires that the Secret Service and law enforcement forge and enhance partnerships with industry, academic and research organizations.'

The Marshals Service also brings a history of law enforcement and the pursuit of criminal financial activities to CAIMR. Established by the first Congress in the Judiciary Act of 1789, one of the Marshals Service's duties was to pursue counterfeiters, a duty the Secret Service has since assumed. Today, one of the Marshal Service's current duties is to operate the federal Witness Security Protection program to ensure that witnesses to crimes participate in the judicial process. The integrity of the witness protection program is dependent on protecting participants' identities, whether they are actual identities or newly created ones.

In addition to the Secret Service and Marshals Service, CAIMR's members include Indiana University, LexisNexis, IBM, Intersections, Cogent Systems and Visa, Fair Isaac, University of Texas at Austin, Wells Fargo & Company, Dragnet Solutions, ID Experts, Identity Theft Assistance Corporation, Information Technology Association of America, and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The diversity of the organizations comprising CAIMR allows it to be well-equipped in carrying out its mission.

About the Author

Dan Campbell is a freelance writer with Government Computer News and the president of Millennia Systems Inc.


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