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EU moots centre to combat cybercrime in Europe

The EU on Monday set out plans for a centre to combat cybercrime in Europe. Ministers meeting in Luxembourg proposed the new centre as part of a longer term strategy to cope more effectively with the crimes committed by means of electronic networks.

The EU's General Affairs Council proposed actions which would specify how the main points of the concerted strategy to combat cybercrime should be implemented, both in the short and medium term.

In the short term, the Council intends to collect more information about perpetrators and modus operandi in order to have a real idea of the scale of the problem and the way it is constantly evolving. The consolidation and the revision of the functions assigned to Europol's European Cybercrime Platform (ECCP), in order to facilitate the collection, exchange and analysis of information is also considered an essential element of the plan.

The Council also points out the importance of the continuity of existing activities and initiatives in this field, such as:

  • the CIRCAMP project to develop a filtering system against child sexual abuse contents,
  • the Europol Working Group on Monitoring of Internet Communication, and
  • the inventory of good practices to investigate commercial distribution of child abuse images, facilitated by the European Financial Coalition (EFC), with active involvement by EUROJUST.

In the medium term, the Council aims to make progress with the following actions:

  • To ratify the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention.
  • To consider raising the standards of specialization of the police, judges, prosecutors and forensic staff to an appropriate level to carry out cybercrime investigations.
  • To encourage information sharing between the Member States’ law enforcement authorities; in particular, to facilitate the sharing of child pornography images with the International Child Sexual Exploitation Database at Interpol.
  • To assess the situation regarding the fight against cybercrime in the European Union and the Member States, in order to achieve a better understanding of trends and developments in cybercrime.
  • To adopt a common approach in the fight against cybercrime internationally, particularly in relation to the revocation of Domain Names and IP addresses.
  • To promote harmonisation of the different networks 24/7, and of law enforcement contact points, eliminating possible duplication (G8 and INTERPOL).

The Council proposes that the Commission draw up a feasibility study on the possibility of creating a centre to carry out the actions mentioned above. The centre might also evaluate and monitor the preventive and investigative measures to be carried out. This feasibility study should consider, in particular, the aim, scope and possible financing of the centre and whether it should be located at Europol.

The Council calls for these measures to be included in the Action Plan accompanying the Stockholm Programme (2010-2014) and the future Internal Security Strategy mandated therein.

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