Europe Considers New Cybercrime Agency

European ministers are considering establishing a new agency that would tie together law enforcement agencies and other entities dedicated to fighting cybercrime.

The Council of the European Union, composed of ministers from 27 countries, issued a document earlier this week calling for the European Commission to draw up a feasibility study on the idea.

The ministers released a set of goals they'd like to achieve over time. One of those is to gain more ratifications of the Council of Europe's Cybercrime Convention, the only international treaty covering computer crime.

The treaty requires countries to adopt cybercrime laws, have contacts available 24 hours a day for fast-breaking investigations and other measures.

Another medium-term goal focuses on revocation of domain names and IP (Internet protocol) addresses. The document doesn't spell out exactly the ministers' objectives there, as it is already standard procedure for many ISPs to shut down Web sites linked with bad behavior.

The new agency would also be tasked with forging stronger bonds between various law enforcement and other organizations that deal with cybercrime, including Europol, Eurojust, Interpol and others.

"The centre might also evaluate and monitor the preventive and investigative measures to be carried out," the document reads. "This feasibility study should consider, in particular, the aim, scope and possible financing of the centre and whether it should be located at Europol."

A focus would also be placed on helping police, judges and prosecutors help meet standards for carry out "technological investigations as well as those needed by trainers in this field."

Other tasks would include generating annual reports about cybercrime in Europe and advising the Commission and Council of Ministers in "drafting of recommendations or rules designed to fight cybercrime globally."

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