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New Deal Against Computer Crime

  • May 23rd, 2007
  • Posted by EUEditor

cyber-crime-1.jpgA package of measures has been agreed by the European Commission to tackle credit card stealing and other online criminal activity.

The agreement has been made to coordinate measures taken by the 27 separate member governments of the European Union which individually retain the power to police and punish crimes.

The EU’s Vice President for Justice, Freedom and Security, Franco Frattini, said it was moving on closer law enforcement cooperation, collaboration with outside countries, training, research, and eventually new joint legislation.

It was emphasising collaboration with the private sector especially internet service providers.

“A pattern of new and dangerous criminal activities against the internet, or with the use of information systems as a criminal tool, is clearly discernible”, he said.

“Traditional forms of crime such as fraud or forgery, as well as new crimes such as the publication of illegal content over electronic media (i.,e. child sex abuse material or incitement to racial hatred), and crimes unique to electronic networks (attacks against information systems, denial of service, and hacking), are constantly keeping pace.

“The cross-border character of this new type of criminal activity further underlines the need for strengthened international cooperation and coordination.”

There is some joint framework legislation already set up to protect government information, and ensure uniform action by governments on crimes like credit card offences, the 1995 EU Data Protection Directive; but EC spokespersons agree much tighter cooperation has proved necessary.

They have also admitted that governments have had difficulty with blocking access to websites, such as sites that may provide child pornography, because of contending legislation that guarantees the privacy and human rights of internet users.

They said resources were being put into a large training platform, to augment already-extensive activities to maintain a force of experts on cyber crime.

Illegal content was a major focus, with active programs being run already in tandem with private operators.

While exact figures were still rare, administrators had established that use of publicly accessible child pornography sites had increased in the United Kingdom by 1500% between 1997 and 2005 (quoting the Internet Watch Foundation); and in a small country, Norway, there were 7000 visits to such sites per day.

A FOOTNOTE to the action on cyber crime is the recent disruption of internet services in an EU member country, Estonia., The country’s government says it has tracked the attacks to sources in Russia, including locations within the government there. The Russian government has denied any involvement. The episode follows a dispute between the two countries over the handling of demonstrations by ethnic Russians in the Estonian capital, Tallinn.

A statement from Vice President Frattini said the attacks had been coordinated and there was general agreement in Europe on the need to handle such problems on an EU level.

Picture: EC display of a portable server used by crooks

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