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European Cybercrime Centre ready to open

Will 2013 be the year the world’s governing bodies truly step up the fight against cybercrime?

Internet security has already fallen into the spotlight in the UK this year, with the Cabinet Office planning a wide-reaching cybercrime education programme to improve understanding at all levels of society, and government officials claiming the Ministry of Defence is taking the issue more seriously than ever amid concerns over national security.

Now the European Commission is playing its part, by formally beginning operations at its brand new European Cybercrime Centre from tomorrow (11 January) at the Hague, Netherlands.

With investigations into online fraud, child abuse and cybercrime regularly involving hundreds of victims and miscreants at a time, the commission said effective operations cannot be conducted by national police forces alone. Hence the birth of the centre, known as EC3, which will “pool expertise and information, support criminal investigations and promote EU-wide solutions.”

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström said, "The Cybercrime Centre will give a strong boost to the EU's capacity to fight cybercrime and defend an internet that is free, open and secure. Cybercriminals are smart and quick in using new technologies for criminal purposes; the EC3 will help us become even smarter and quicker to help prevent and fight their crimes."

Troels Oerting, who will act as head of the unit, added, "In combatting cybercrime, with its borderless nature and huge ability for the criminals to hide, we need a flexible and adequate response. The European Cybercrime Centre is designed to deliver this expertise as a fusion centre, as a centre for operational investigative and forensic support, but also through its ability to mobilise all relevant resources in EU Member States to mitigate and reduce the threat from cybercriminals wherever they operate from."

The opening of EC3 may go some way in placating the critics of online governance, who claim dedicated law enforcement bodies are both scarce and ineffectual in the cyber-sphere. This was the sentiment of former Scotland Yard cybercrime detective Stave Santorelli, when discussing the current failings of cyber-policing with ITProPortal.