Wednesday, December 16, 1998

Ashley Ford
Staff Reporter

p. A41.

Crackdown on hi-tech crime

A lengthy RCMP investigation has led to the arrest of a York University student on charges of illegal software distribution, fraud over $5,000, possession of child pornography and circulation of obscene material.

Wei-Tai Lee of North York, Ont., faces a combined maximum penalty of 22 years in jail, if convicted, and a fine up to $1 million, or both.

The charges are the result of a six-month investigation and allege that Lee was illegally distributing copyrighted software via York University's internet service provider.

RCMP and software companies constantly fighting piracy and criminal activity on the Internet hope the case will send a strong message across the country to hackers and other involved in hi-tech crime that it is getting riskier in their business.

David Willis in Vancouver, recently warned that software theft and piracy is a huge and growing problem across the country, including B.C.

"We are seeing more and more criminal activity on the Internet and believe this could be a unique case for the Canadian judicial system," said Const. Carolyn Blais of the Newmarket RCMP detachment.

"It is our hope that we will make an impression with this case and demonstrate that hi-tech illegal activity, such as software piracy and fraud in this case, are serious offences that will be sanctioned accordingly."

The RCMP obtained a search warrant based on the suspected software distribution and seized Lee's hard drive.

While gathering forensic evidence from the hard drive, investigators determined it also contained numerous images of child pornography and othe obscene photographs.

The student's file transfer protocol (FTP) site is suspected of being part of a worldwide group of 10 mirrored web sites engaged in similar illegal activity.

The site allegedly included a wide variety of copyrighted software that ranged from business applications, to computer games to high-end developer tools. The site listed numerous software titles available for download and illegal copies of software from major software publishers.

[Toronto '98] [News by region] [News by topic]

Created: December 16, 1998
Last modified: December 16, 1998

CSIS Commercial Sex Information Service
Box 3075, Vancouver, BC V6B 3X6
Tel: +1 (604) 488-0710