The U.S. Transnational and High-Tech Crime Global Law Enforcement Network (GLEN) program is the result of a partnership between the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (DOS/INL) and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (DOJ/CCIPS) and Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (DOJ/OPDAT).
The GLEN is a worldwide law enforcement capacity building network of International Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (ICHIP) attorney advisors, computer forensic analysts (Global Cyber Forensics Advisors or GCFAs), and federal law enforcement agents who deliver training and technical assistance to foreign law enforcement, prosecutorial, and judicial partners to combat intellectual property and cybercrime activity, as well as to assist in the collection and use of electronic evidence to combat all types of crime, including transnational organized crime (TOC).
Currently, ICHIPs are posted to regional positions in Africa (Abuja, Nigeria and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), Asia (Hong Kong S.A.R. and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Europe (Bucharest, Romania, Zagreb, Croatia and The Hague, Netherlands), and Western Hemisphere (Sao Paulo, Brazil and Panama City, Panama). Two subject-matter expert ICHIPs -- the ICHIP for Internet Fraud and Public Health (IFPH) and the ICHIP for Dark Web and Cryptocurrency (DWC) -- as well as DOJ computer forensic analysts and law enforcement officials with intellectual property and cybercrime expertise also form part of the GLEN.
The objective of the GLEN is to promote the rule of law and to protect Americans from criminal threats emanating from abroad by delivering targeted training to encourage both immediate improvements as well as long-term institutional change. This assistance includes training workshops, legislative review, case-based mentoring, skills-development, and promoting institutional reform such as the formation of specialized units to address these criminal threats.
- In 2016, ICHIP Bucharest assisted with the take-down of Kickass Torrents, then one of the world’s largest websites for online theft.
In 2017, an ICHIP Sao Paulo-mentored team of Brazilian law enforcement officials launched a series of significant enforcement actions on a U.S. Trade Representative-designated Notorious Market in São Paulo and seized approximately 880 tons of counterfeit and contraband goods worth approximately $138 million, which resulted in the market’s closure.
- In 2018, ICHIP Abuja organized the Eastern and Southern Africa Workshop to Build Enforcement Capacity and Improve Regional Coordination in Combatting Pharmaceutical Crimes, which was held at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Gaborone, Botswana.
- In 2018, ICHIP Kuala Lumpur and ICHIP Hong Kong hosted the Asia Regional G7 24/7 High Tech Crimes Network (24/7 Network) Point of Contact Workshop, in Melaka, Malaysia. The 24/7 Network is an informal network that provides around-the-clock high-tech expert contact points that enable the sharing of digital evidence and other relevant information for ongoing investigations against cyber criminals. Tonga officially became the 84th member of the 24/7 Network. Tonga is the first Pacific Island nation to join the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime and is the third Pacific Island nation to join the 24/7 Network, cementing their role as a regional leader on cybercrime.
- In 2019, in Romania, as a result of ongoing ICHIP mentoring, seven leaders of a counterfeiting transnational criminal organization (TCO) were convicted and sentenced to prison for the online sales of counterfeit steroids and human growth hormones to consumers throughout Europe, effectively dismantling this TCO.
- In 2019, in Brazil, an ICHIP-mentored interagency group seized 17 tons of counterfeit goods consisting of 20,000 shoes and 50,000 items of clothing, including trademarks like Nike, Puma, Adidas, and Lacoste, and also shut down two notorious markets in the center of Sao Paulo.
COVID-19 Related Activities
- From mid-April 2020 to January 2021, ICHIPs have conducted a total of 69 major webinars on COVID-19 crime: 28 in Africa; 22 in Asia; 9 in Europe; and 10 in the Western Hemisphere. Over 2,100 people participated from 71 different countries.
- ICHIP Abuja is engaged in ongoing case-based mentoring for alumni of 2018/2019 ICHIP pharmaceutical crime workshops held in anglophone and francophone countries; current mentoring efforts are focused on COVID-19-related pharmaceutical crime.
- In partnership with their respective embassies / consulates, the ICHIPs have produced Public Service Announcements (PSA) on intellectual property crime and cybercrime issues related to COVID-19.
- In April and May 2020, ICHIP-mentored and trained state prosecutors in São Paulo and Brasilia worked with U.S. domain registrars and other platforms to take down multiple online COVID-19 scams.
- Since April 2020, an interagency group of law enforcement agents, municipal officials, and U.S. rights-holders based in São Paulo have made significant seizures of counterfeit masks and other illicit goods at multiple locations despite limited resources and personnel due to the pandemic.
- During April, May and June 2020, ICHIP Kuala Lumpur has conducted webinars on digital forensics and evidence as well as cryptocurrency in order to assist Malaysia’s Anti-Corruption Commission in addressing a significant increase in COVID-19 related crime.
- In July and August 2020, the ICHIP IFPH, working in tandem with each of the regional ICHIPs, conducted webinars for foreign prosecutors and law enforcement in Asia, Africa, Europe and South America on how to take down fraudulent websites related to COVID-19 scams. These webinars addressed methods for finding the registrar for a particular domain and requesting a voluntary takedown as well as the U.S. legal processes necessary for obtaining a court order that would bind a U.S. registrar.
- In August and September 2020, the ICHIP DWC, in conjunction with the regional ICHIPs, conducted webinars on both the dark web and cryptocurrency for prosecutors and police in Asia, Africa and Europe. The former were focused on how the dark web operates, practical tools law enforcement can use to investigate dark web vendors and administrators, and current COVID-19 related crimes being committed on dark web marketplaces. The latter provided an introduction to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, including techniques for investigating crypto-enabled crime.
- In September 2020, ICHIP Bucharest partnered with the National Agency for the Management of Seized Assets (ANABI) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to organize and conduct a webinar focused on COVID-19 frauds and how to follow the money to investigate and prosecute transnational organized crime. Both the Romanian Minister of Justice and the U.S. Ambassador to Romania praised the program as Romania, like many other countries, has been hit with a dramatic increase in cyber-enabled fraud since the beginning of the pandemic, particularly those that appear to be launched by transnational organized criminal groups.
- In August 2020, ICHIP Hong Kong continued co-hosting a series of webinars with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat (ASEC) focused on COVID-19 related crimes, particularly those involving online platforms, and how best to investigate and prosecute them.
This innovative and critically acclaimed assistance program has more than doubled in size in FY 2020, including new field and DC-based positions. The GLEN will continue to support - albeit more robustly - the U.S. Government and the U.S. Department of Justice’s topline priorities of protecting intellectual property rights and fighting cybercrime. The ICHIPs will be conducting assistance remotely through webinars, PSAs, presentations and other electronic material as well as consultations and mentoring via phone and video software. Further, the program has received additional funding to place an ICHIP in South Asia, with a potential location in New Delhi, Colombo, Dhaka, or Kathmandu.