EU unveils plan to fight cybercrime

By Paul Meller, InfoWorld |  Business

The European Commission Tuesday revealed details of its proposals to combat cybercrime, first announced late last year.

"The freedom of the Internet, the source of its very success, has to be preserved," said Erkki Liikanen, commissioner in charge of Internet issues, when announcing the proposals. But he added, "The fact also is: No security, no trust, no transactions."

Liikanen said that the impressive growth forecasts for electronic commerce will remain a "pie in the sky" if people cannot trust electronic transactions.

The Commission will present its paper on cybercrime to the Council of Ministers of the European Union (EU) and to the European Parliament. The paper outlines a harmonized policy to combat computer crime and describes the mechanisms necessary to achieve this without hindering rapid development of e-commerce in the EU or affecting citizens' fundamental right to privacy.

The paper proposes a number of legislative and non-legislative actions. Legislative proposals include harmonizing member states' laws. In the short term, those relating to child pornography offenses and incitement to racism will be targeted, and in the longer term the commission will bring forward proposals to harmonize criminal law on high-tech crime, including hacking and denial-of-service attacks.

Non-legislative action proposed in the paper includes the creation of an EU Forum to raise public awareness and promote best practices in IT security. The forum will bring together representatives from law enforcement agencies, service providers, network operators, consumer groups, and data-protection authorities.

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