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EU plans IP address snatch to battle cybercrime

Proposes new anti-cybercrime body

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An international cybercrime centre will be able to revoke domain names and IP addresses under new proposals by European governments.

The EU Council of Ministers announced the plan yesterday. They want a new body, possibly based at Europol, the EU police agency, to take on an array of tasks to combat cybercrime.

The most eye-catching of the potential centre's briefly-described roles will be to "adopt a common approach in the fight against cybercrime internationally, particularly in relation to the revocation of domain names and IP addresses", the Council of Ministers suggested.

They called on the European Commission to work on the plan, and to draw up more detailed proposals covering the aim, scope and financing of a new centre.

In the UK, an initiative to revoke domain names suspected of being used for cybercrime is already being run by Nominet, the not-for-profit private company that runs the .uk registry. In December, working in cooperation with police, it pulled the plug on 1,200 allegedly dodgy domains.

Moves to revoke IP addresses are likely to prove more difficult, as they are allocated by hundreds of individual ISPs, without the centralised database function provided by Nominet and other European registries. ISPs are likely to resist any regulatory burden imposed by the EU proposed new cybercrime centre.

The Council of Ministers also suggested the centre could encourage member state police forces to share information on child abuse images online and produce annual bloc-wide reports on cybercrime. More vaguely, it would also liaise with victim and private sector groups, and promote best practices. ®

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