EU steps up cybercrime talks

Crime doesn't pay... and if the EU has its way, the RIP Act may well have a home in the rest of Europe

The European Union met informally Saturday to discuss new cross-border powers for law enforcement agencies to combat international Internet crime. Discussions centre around a new RIP-style approach across Europe.

EU representatives said Internet crime was rapidly outpacing the implementation of necessary policing powers and that urgent action was required.

Speaking at a press conference held after a meeting of member states, French justice minister Elisabeth Guigou emphasised the need for action.

"There is an urgency," she told assembled reporters. "We are perfectly aware that there is a delay in regulatory activities in comparison to the amazing growth of the Internet."

France -- which recently took over the six-month presidency of the EU -- will also attempt to increase cooperation with the world's "G8" nations.

The G8 nations convened to discuss international computer threats shortly after the LoveBug worm caused billions of pounds worth of damage across international computer systems in a matter of hours. This event arguably prompted the urgency for current discussions.

The Union is yet to clarify what cooperative efforts it favours but some observers believe it may be leaning towards an RIP-type solution. The RIP Bill, given Royal Assent last week, requires ISPs to take part in surveillance of Internet users by installing and operating black boxes.

"We are concerned that things could go that way," says a spokeswoman for EuroISPA (European Internet Service Providers Association). "If you look at the speeches that European Ministers have been making, cybercrime is gaining prominence."

Guy Kewney guarantees that the really huge e-frauds being committed will be by banking staff, either through incompetence, or inadequate supervision, or actual villainy. But what he can't guarantee is that they will be discovered, or that the perpetrators can even be traced. Go to AnchorDesk UK for the news comment.

Find out who's spying on you and how they're doing it in our exclusive Echelon News Special.

They can see you... Read about how and why in Surveillance, a ZDNet News Special

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