EU Cybercrime Center to Fight Online Fraud

Pablo Valerio, International Business & IT Consultant | 4/12/2012 | 6 comments

Pablo Valerio
"Millions of Europeans use the Internet for home banking, online shopping and planning holidays, or to stay in touch with family and friends via online social networks. But as the online part of our everyday lives grows, organised crime is following suit -- and these crimes affect each and every one of us," said Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Home Affairs. "We can't let cybercriminals disrupt our digital lives. A European Cybercrime Centre within Europol will become a hub for cooperation in defending an internet that is free, open and safe."

The EU is taking on two important roles to ensure our online privacy and security: the creation of a uniform legislation about privacy and users’ rights, with a single national data protection authority, and now the creation of a Cybercrime Center to fight online fraud.

With over 75 percent of its population connected to the Internet, Europe is a key target for cybercrime. Cybercriminals can act from anywhere, within or outside the European borders. Until now, cybercriminals have been able to move from one European Union member state to another with almost impunity, thanks to lack of coordination between law enforcement agencies and no single entity responsible for those crimes. Efficient control of the EU's external borders is thus crucial for free movement, and that includes fighting cybercrime.

The authority of the Center will come from the European Commission itself, and will operate within Europol, the European law enforcement agency, accountable at EU level to the Council of Ministers for Justice and Home Affairs.

The responsibilities of the new entity will be:

  • Fighting cybercrime, with a focus on illegal online activities carried out by organized crime.
  • Preventing cybercrimes affecting e-banking and online booking.
  • Protecting social network profiles from e-crime infiltration and helping fight identity theft.
  • Preventing and fighting cyber-attacks affecting critical infrastructure and IT in the Union.
  • Fighting and prosecuting cybercrimes that cause serious harm to the victims, such as online child abuse and exploitation.

"The European centre will warn EU Member States of major cybercrime threats and alert them of weaknesses in their online defences. It will identify organised cyber-criminal networks and prominent offenders in cyberspace. It will provide operational support in concrete investigations, be it with forensic assistance or by helping to set up cybercrime Joint Investigation Teams," says the press release.

Europol already has a High Tech Crime Centre, which advises national law enforcement agencies and coordinates their efforts, but it doesn't have a legal mandate to take over investigations and initiate procedures against cybercriminals. It will now be able to interact at the highest level with other national entities outside the EU, such as the FBI.

Cybercrime is a global phenomenon, and coordination between law enforcement agencies is the best way to fight it. The new Cybercrime Center will reduce the possibility of corruption in some member states, adding a new level of trust for European citizens. Member states need to pool their efforts at EU level.

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Pablo Valerio   EU Cybercrime Center to Fight Online Fraud   4/12/2012 4:12:04 PM
Re: EU as a benchmark
@Dave, I start to see more trust in European institutions than in National ones, especially abaout the Internet.

For example, people in the UK are very upset now with the proposed legislation to allow government agencies to monitor all online activity and "spy" on every citizen. Since the UK signed the Lisbon Treaty (EU Constitution), they simply can't do that.
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Pablo Valerio   EU Cybercrime Center to Fight Online Fraud   4/12/2012 4:09:12 PM
Re: EU as a benchmark

There is a lot happening now, and people should be aware of online threats. Coordination to fight Cybercrime is essential, and the EU is taking some steps.

But there is nothing law enforcement and Cybercrime units can do if people are not taking security and online privacy seriously.
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David Wagner   EU Cybercrime Center to Fight Online Fraud   4/12/2012 2:54:29 PM
Re: EU as a benchmark
@waqasaltaf- It is interesitng because it does show trust. It also shows that despite the economic challenges in Greece, Italy, Spain, and elsewhere, that threaten to break apart the union, at least some parts of the union are functioning as though everything will work out. I wonder if that's because of real knwoledge or blind faith.
kicheko   EU Cybercrime Center to Fight Online Fraud   4/12/2012 2:46:31 PM
Re: EU as a benchmark
So much has happened in the way of internet fraud and other cyber crime, with people losing lots of cash and even their lives.

Not to mention that cybercrime itself is growing in different ways. So many new facets come up every day. Lately there has been some focus on defamation via social forums such as twitter, blogs, facebook etc. People have even been charged in court. Such comments themselves have potential to spark further crime by fuelling animosity such racism.

Definitely a good idea for EU to actively police open crime on internet.
batye   EU Cybercrime Center to Fight Online Fraud   4/12/2012 2:00:51 PM
Re: EU as a benchmark
it do make sense for creation of the eu cybercrime center as separate entity to fight crime online...this days some places in eastern europe is like havens for cybercriminals...-why not fight them with specialised force... 
WaqasAltaf   EU Cybercrime Center to Fight Online Fraud   4/12/2012 1:31:33 PM
EU as a benchmark
Its pleasant to see EU uniting against cyber crimes which shows not only good coordination between member states but also the level of trust they all have between them.

Trust is an essential thing to have and probably this is the reason why all countries in the world wont unite against cybercrime. And how can we have trust between countries when the allegations of intelligence agencies supporting cyber crimes are a daily routine and perhaps true to an extent. 

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