Karen A. Frenkel

Science and Technology Writer

Computers in Court

Technology Review, April 1982

Excerpt

With some 12,000 computers humming away in various government branches in 1976, Abraham Ribicoff, then a U.S. Senator from Connecticut, sensed a tempting target for data defrauders and instituted an investigation into federal computer security.

What he found alarmed him. An Internal Revenue Service employee had used a computer scam to embezzle $650,000 before being caught. And government auditors routinely testing security at the Social Security Administration, one of the world’s largest computer facilities, were able to make off with computer tapes containing the names, addresses, and histories of more than a million beneficiaries.

The criminal justice system was ill-equipped to detect, investigate, or prosecute computer fraud, Senator Ribicoff declared. Some 40 federal statutes could be used to combat swindlers, but most of these predated the computer revolution. “Federal prosecutors are handicapped,” he said, “because there is no law making computer crime a crime.”

The First Act
In 1977, Senator Ribicoff introduced the Federal Computer Systems Protection Act. Designed to “give federal prosecutors a better weapon,” the bill attempted to define computer crime and outline penalties for offenses…

Selected Works

Bloomberg.com, Bloomberg Businessweek, Businessweek.com
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The fashion industry goes tech in order to step up efficiency when it comes to ordering threads.
Hudl's software lets coaches edit athletes' plays and use them for training. But the company must psych out coaches from different cultures to learn how they train to win.
New-fangled milk crates designed for college students, with the incite of the crowd and made in the U.S.A.
Blue Microphones has expanded its reach, making mics for iPhones, iPods, and iPADs and any other USB device.
The University of Illinois engineering professor creates self-healing materials, and has successfully applied the idea to electronic circuits
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Pressed for time, doctors are less and less amenable to face-to-face meetings with pharma reps. Viscira's biomedical computer animation reach tech-savvy MDs.
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Essence Magazine
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Creative Non-Fiction
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ScientificAmerican.com
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FastCompany.com
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Interview
A 1989 interview with the late, titanic visionary while he was CEO of NeXT,Inc., in which he discusses the Mach OS, robotic manufacturing, mentoring employees, digital Shakespeare and Webster's...
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The First Conference on Computational Sustainability
Scientific American MIND
Scientists debate how synapses work
Scientific American
A New Algorithim Could Soon Vanquish Go Pros
The Village Voice
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The New York Times
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Two books look for answers in the lives of a few who succeeded.
Other Magazines
Technology Review
Book
Communications of the ACM