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The EU to set up new agency to better cope with cybercrime

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April 30, 2010

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The European Commission is planning to set up a new agency to better cope with the growing problem of cybercrime. The new agency would be part of Europol, EU ministers have said at a meeting yesterday.

Overall, the Council of Ministers has asked the EU to look at its agreed set of cybercrime objectives and investigate whether a centralized agency would be a better way of achieving those objectives rather than the current inter-agency structure that has been in place for the past three years.

Those objectives would include raising the standard of specialization of investigators and cybercrime prosecutors as well as judges and forensic staff, encouraging data sharing between countries' police forces and Interpol, and harmonizing the approaches taken to fighting cybercrime in the EU's 27 countries.

The Council of Ministers said that the proposed center could not only help to train judges, police and prosecutors but could also serve as a permanent liaison body with user and victims' organizations and the private sector.

The center could design and update a standard contract designed for Europe's specific needs for cooperation between the private and public sectors.

"By nature, cybercrime is borderless," said the proposal, outlining why action was needed. "For measures to combat cybercrime to be effective, adequate cross-border provisions are needed and international cooperation and mutual assistance in law enforcement within Europe and between the EU and third countries needs to be greatly enhanced from current standards."

The Council of Ministers divided the EU's plans on cybercrime into short, medium and long term actions. It said that the Commission should track what progress had been made on these plans and that they should be included in the Commission's 'Stockholm Program', its own plan for crime prevention and security government until the end of 2014.

"The Council proposes that the Commission draw up a feasibility study on the possibility of creating a center to carry out the aforementioned actions, where they have not already been achieved," said the text adopted by the EU this week.

"The center might also evaluate and monitor the preventive and investigative measures to be carried out as well," reads the statement.

"This feasibility study should consider, in particular, the aim, scope and possible financing of the center and whether it should be located at Europe," it added.

The Council proposal also calls for EU countries to adopt a common anti-cybercrime approach in relation to IP addresses and Internet domain names.

It has asked the Commission to help to establish common action on the revocation of domain names and IP addresses.

The European Union already has a center for research into cybercrime but it is an information service rather than a crime fighting agency. The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA), based in Greece, investigates and classifies information security threats and provides advice on them and on how to take preventive actions in the near future.

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Source: The EU.

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