EU to formulate cross-border cyber crime policies

22 May 2007

The European Commission is preparing policies to enable better co-operation between law enforcement agencies and private sector ISPs and telecom firms in the fight against cyber crime.

European Commission vice-president Franco Frattini, responsible for justice, freedom and security, said a pattern of new and dangerous criminal activities utilising information systems including the internet is clearly discernible.

He said that traditional forms of crime such as fraud or forgery, as well as new crimes such as the publication of illegal content over electronic media (ie child sexual abuse material or incitement to racial hatred) and crimes unique to electronic networks (attacks against information systems, denial of service and hacking) are constantly evolving.

He said the cross-border character of this new type of criminal activity further underlined the need for strengthened international co-operation and coordination, with legislation and operational law enforcement have obvious difficulties in keeping pace..

He said recent co-ordinated attacks oriented against the informatics systems of a member state reinforce the need for a co-ordinated action across the EU. He added there is general agreement in Europe on the need to take action at EU level.

“The European Commission is today taking an important step towards the formulation of a general European policy on the fight against cyber crime,” said Frattini.

“This policy will eventually include improved operational law enforcement co-operation, better political co-operation and co-ordination between member states, possible legislative action as well as political and legal co-operation with third countries. Awareness raising, training and research will also be essential in attaining our goals.

“This policy will be effective only if a strong dialogue with industry is put in place,” Frattini said.

He added that the main short-term objectives are improved co-operation between cyber crime units and other relevant authorities, the development of coherent EU policy framework on the fight against cyber crime and to raise awareness of the costs and dangers posed by cyber crime.

“We will need to take these ideas forward in practical ways. As part of the follow-up, we will launch concrete actions to reach our objectives, involving both the private and public sectors.

“It is essential to work closely with member states, relevant EU and international organisations and other stakeholders in order to produce the best results,” Frattini said.

By John Kennedy