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IP/07/689

Brussels, 22 May 2007

Defining the Commission's global policy on the fight against cyber crime

The European Commission has adopted the Communication "Towards a general policy on the fight against cyber crime". Specific actions to improve coordination and cooperation between law enforcement authorities and between law enforcement and private sector operators will play an important role in the fight against cyber crime, and complement other actions taken at national, European and international level.

Vice-President Frattini, EU Commissioner responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security, stated: "The European Commission is today taking an important step towards the formulation of a general European policy on the fight against cyber crime. This policy will eventually include improved operational law enforcement cooperation, better political cooperation and coordination between Member States, possible legislative action, as well as political and legal cooperation 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."

The development of the internet and other information systems has given rise to new rapid flows of information, products and services across the internal and external borders of the EU. This has had numerous positive effects for consumers and citizens. However, the same development has also opened many new possibilities for criminals. 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. 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 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. Legislation and operational law enforcement have obvious difficulties in keeping pace. The cross-border character of this new type of criminal activity further underlines the need for strengthened international cooperation and coordination. Recent coordinated attacks oriented against the informatics systems of a Member State reinforce the need for a coordinated action across the Union involving the Commission and Member States. There is general agreement in Europe on the need to take action at EU-level.

Considering that operational law enforcement remains mainly a competence of Member States, the actions will not go beyond what is clearly adding value at EU-level and will therefore mainly, initially, be about coordination.

The European Commission is ideally placed to coordinate this policy, in close cooperation with Member States and other international organisations. The main short term objectives are:

  • To improve and facilitate coordination and cooperation between cyber crime units, other relevant authorities and other experts in the European Union;
  • To develop a coherent EU policy framework on the fight against cyber crime;
  • To raise awareness of costs and dangers posed by cyber crime.

As regards next steps, Vice-President Frattini said: "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."

To find out more about Vice President Frattini's work please visit his website: http://www.ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/frattini/index_en.htm


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