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Long arm of the law reaches into cyberspace

Civil rights brouhaha awaits Officer Dibble’s latest plan

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Senior officers at the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) want to create a nationwide law enforcement agency to combat computer crime. John Abbott, the director general of NCIS, called for the creation of a cybercrime agency at the launch of a new report – Project Trawler -- detailing the threat posed by online criminal behaviour. The report -- which took three years to complete -- recognises the importance of the Internet but warns of the dangers of hacking, viruses, fraud and a raft of other criminal behaviour. In particular, NCIS believes that cybercrime is on the increase and that action needs to be taken now if the UK isn’t to be overrun by cybervillains. "I believe serious consideration should be given to the establishment of a national investigative computer crime unit to combat the growing numbers of computer crimes being carried out in the UK and to identify and target emerging threats," he said. In particular, Abbott called for current legislation to be revised to help police put cybercriminals behind bars. This includes giving police access to encryption keys -- something that has severe consequences for personal freedoms in the UK. Project Trawler should be available online tomorrow. (http://www.ncis.co.uk) ®

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