The Conservatives have criticised the government's response to the growing threat from cybercrime, unveiling plans for a national e-crime unit and a dedicated e-crime minister if they win the next election.
Describing government policy towards e-crime as showing a "lack of clear leadership", shadow home secretary David Davis revealed Tory plans to create a police national cybercrime unit, a minister for e-crime, a fraud and cybercrime complaint centre, and to teach "cybersafety" and "cybersecurity" to children.
Davis also said the Conservatives would introduce laws forcing companies to disclose the loss of customers' details.
Speaking at the e-Crime Congress 2008 in London, Davis called the government's decision to absorb the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit into the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) "absurd".
Davis said that cybercrime attacks to steal and extort money were a multi-billion-pound business that was now worth more than the international illegal drugs trade.
"I see the internet more as a shopping mall for criminals, with plenty of ATMs around the place. The government has created data systems that are valuable, vulnerable and attractive to attack," said Davis.
"But the national approach to this growing threat of cybercrime and cyber-terrorism lacks co-ordination, focus or urgency. You are left with the conclusion that the government does not want to do anything about the problem; their thinking seems to be that 'in cyber space nobody can hear you scream'," Davis added.