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EC to launch Net crime forum in May

Top UK cop says EU data protection laws hinder crime fighting

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The European Commission is to launch an Internet crime forum in May based on the UK's model of Net crime fighting.

The move has been welcomed by Britain's top cybercop Detective Chief Superintendent Keith Akerman who just last week was attacking EU data protection laws for hindering police investigations.

DCS Akerman addressed an EC public hearing on cybercrime saying that police had been unable to track down a 500 strong child porn ring because ISPs were required to delete all traffic data, unless it was required for billing purposes.

"These people used free ISP accounts, so there's no billing, so the data's gone," he said.

Akerman is chairman of both the UK Internet Crime Forum and the Association of Chief Police Officer's computer crime working group.

He also gave the EC hearing the example of how the data protection rules wouldn't help track senders of race hate email. Akerman said if the email was sent on a Friday evening, but not discovered by the recipient until Sunday night, and not reported to the police on Monday, there would be no chance of tracking the sender.

Akerman was confident that the launch of the EC Internet crime forum would help law enforcement agencies crack Net related crime.

In the UK the forum is made of law enforcement agencies, industry bodies such as ISPA and Linx, ISPs big and small, financial services, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Home Office and the DTi.

Its stated aim is to: "Develop and maintain a working relationship between the Internet Service Providers Industry and Law Enforcement Agencies in the UK, such that criminal investigations are carried out lawfully, quickly and efficiently while protecting the confidentiality of legitimate communications and with minimum impact on the business of the industry.
"To develop good practice guidelines between Law Enforcement Agencies and the Internet Service Providers Industry describing what information can lawfully and reasonably be provided to Law Enforcement Agencies, under what circumstances it can be provided, and the procedures to be followed."

In parallel to forming the EC Internet Crime forum, the EC intends to promote the creation of computer crime units in member states and support the training of law enforcement agencies. ®

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