Feeds

More police needed to tackle e-crime

LINX calls for extra Bobbies on the Net, rather than more legislation

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Improved enforcement of existing laws – rather than more regulations – should be a government priority in the fight against crime on the Net.

The London Internet Exchange's (LINX) call for greater police resources in the fight against cybercrime comes as MPs prepare to hold an inquiry on whether Britain’s key computer crime law - the Computer Misuse Act 1990 - needs updating. The government is shortly due to publish its Framework Strategy for e-crime.

LINX is the UK's main peering centre for ISPs, so its opinion carries considerable weight in the UK Internet industry.

Where’s a policeman when you need one?
Writing in a special Home Office edition of the magazine Public Service Review, LINX regulation officer Malcolm Hutty argues that the growing problem of e-crime is affecting public confidence in the Internet.

"In the real world, ISPs are often the only support available for individuals and small businesses who are victims of crimes such as hacking, online extortion or denial of service attacks," Hutty says.

"Sometimes ISPs are faced with customers who are victims of crime, deserving of police attention. However, there is no national body adequately resourced and willing to take complaints from members of the public. ISPs are forced to refer customers to their local police station, knowing that very often the crime is not local, it is too technical for local officers to deal with effectively, and overworked specialist units are unlikely to take substantive further action."

As a result of these problems few reports of online criminal activity actually result in a police investigation. This is turn means the problem of cybercrimes - such as online fraud - are seen as less important than they really are.

Hutty’s comments back up a call by Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur earlier this week for greater police resources in the fight against cybercrime.

Legislative tangle

It’s sometimes argued that more elaborate regulatory controls might reduce the need to go through the difficult and expensive process of investigating and prosecuting criminal activity.

Such an approach has little likelihood of success, according to Hutty

"This legislative approach is fraught with difficulty, risks producing attractive-sounding solutions of dubious practical relevance and is unable to answer the question of who is going to enforce the new rules,” he writes.

For example, Hutty notes that attendance at the Home Secretary's Taskforce on Child Protection on the Internet outnumbers the manpower at POLIT (the police group responsible for addressing online paedophilia at a national level).

“The requirement for an adequate number of appropriately-trained police officers to investigate complaints of high-tech criminal activity is inescapable,” Hutty concludes.

LINX is a founder member of the Internet Crime Forum (with participants from government, law enforcement, child protection groups and the Internet industry) and the Home Secretary's Taskforce on Child Protection on the Internet, as well as of the Internet Watch Foundation. ®

Related stories

E-crime costs UK business billions
The rise of the white collar hacker
MPs hold inquiry into UK computer crime law
My sysadmin is a special constable
UK ID theft gang jailed for £350K fraud

External Links

Malcolm Hutty's cyber-crime 'think piece' (PDF)

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.