Europol has suggested that web users across the EU could get involved in helping to catch cyber criminals.
Speaking to a Lords EU sub-committee about plans for a European cyber crime centre, Europol director Rob Wainwright has proposed using “crowd sourcing” to gather evidence.
According Wainwright, web users could be encouraged to provide information to an online Internet crime reporting system so that it could "collect all internet crime reported online at a national level, in a harmonised way across the EU,” the BBC reports.
This, he said, would help Europol and local police forces to track connections between ongoing investigations in all EU member states - from traditional cyber crime, like botnets, to “offline” crime like VAT fraud, people trafficking and drug dealing.
"For the first time the EU will have a comprehensive overview of reported cyber crime from within its own borders and this could even include, in the future, a component of direct engagement with the public," he said.
The crowd sourcing effort is likely to follow the opening of the planned European cyber crime centre in 2014, set to help Europol to step-up its fight against digital crime, so long as funding can be secured from the European Commission.