Global Insider: EU Works to Stay Current on Cybercrime

Global Insider: EU Works to Stay Current on Cybercrime

Earlier this month, the European Union agreed to create the European Cybercrime Center based at the EU’s joint police body, Europol. In an email interview, Dominik Brodowski, a lecturer in the law faculty at Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, discussed the EU’s efforts to fight cybercrime.

WPR: What mechanisms does the European Union already have in place to prevent, detect and prosecute cyber crimes, and what are the shortcomings?

Dominik Brodowski: Actually, the union's 27 member states prevent and prosecute cybercrimes -- not the European Union itself. As the EU strives to provide an area of freedom, security and justice, though, it uses various means to improve the fight against cybercrime. For example, a framework decision enacted in 2005 obliged all member states to criminalize attacks against information systems and thus to close loopholes in national laws. However, this framework decision is considered outdated, as it does not address some new forms of cybercrime, such as botnets. Therefore, a new directive is being negotiated, which also calls for tougher penalties on cybercrimes. Regarding criminal investigations, European institutions such as Europol and Eurojust come into play to coordinate crossborder investigations. For example, search warrants are ideally executed at the same time, otherwise criminals can warn their co-conspirators. Within Europol, a new “European Cybercrime Center” (or EC3) is now going to be set up. This center will collect information on cybercrime attacks, offer training to national judges, prosecutors and police, and assist these national actors in difficult cybercrime investigations.

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