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EU unveils plan to fight cybercrime

But can tightening laws stop internet crime?

The European Commission today 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 Commissioner in charge of internet issues, Erkki Liikanen, announcing the proposals. But he added, "The fact also is: No security, no trust, no transactions."

He said that the impressive growth forecasts for electronic commerce will remain "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 harmonised 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.

A number of legislative and non-legislative actions are proposed by the paper. Legislative proposals include harmonising 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 harmonise 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.

Full details of the Commission's proposals can be found here

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