Representatives of EU Member States and the United States discussed the combat against cybercrime and the amendment of related cooperation, at a ministerial meeting on 13 April in Budapest. In his speech, Minister of Internal Affairs, Sándor Pintér, emphasised the necessity of a coordinated and rapid reaction to cybercrimes.
Participants had an expert discussion on the cooperation of different law enforcement organisations in the field of cybercrimes. They also exchanged views on opportunities of cooperation with non-governmental organisations.
The EU is a popular target
According to the statistics, the European Union is a popular target for cyber criminals, as it has a developed and expanding internet infrastructure. In recent years, even organised crime groups have spent part of their profit on developing software which would makes it easier to commit traditional crimes.
In his keynote speech, Hungarian Minister for Internal Affairs, Sándor Pintér, emphasised the damage these criminals could cause in every field of our lives, “We must prevent them from intruding our companies and installing false data and viruses driving businesses to bankrupt; we must prevent them from causing harm to the banking system and to people’s private life.”
In connection with the cooperation between countries and authorities, Mr Pintér underlined the importance of the proper use of registers run by Europol, the EU’s criminal intelligence agency, in order to force back and investigate cybercrimes, violation of copyrights and cash-substitute payment instrument frauds. Mr Pintér talked about the possibility of a continuous common “patrol service” on the internet. According to him, rapid reaction is most important, as “Sometimes the same cybercrime is committed in 10 to 12 countries, at the same time”.
“We celebrate a kind of birthday”, Hungarian Minister of Public Administration and Justice, Tibor Navracsics said at the press conference, following the event referring to the fact that the conference had been organised for the tenth anniversary of signing the so called Budapest Convention; an agreement of the Council of Europe on fighting computer crime. “Budapest Convention provides a massive basis and proper legal framework for fighting cybercrime, which is proven by the fact that it has been ratified by 30 states,” Mr Navracsics emphasised, adding that the cooperation needs to be improved.
Breakthrough in the Council
The minister mentioned the breakthrough brought by the discussion of the draft guidelines against cybercrime at the Justice and Home Affairs Council’s official session in Luxembourg on 12 April 2011. The proposal in question aims to modernise the Framework Decision of 2005, and qualifies the use of devices (including computer programmes, passwords, access codes and similar data) as crime, and to extend it on to crimes committed with stolen identity; and also qualifies the theft of computer data as crime. “We have discussed the draft guidelines and hopefully the Council will adopt a general approach in connection with it as soon as possible”, Mr Navracsics said concluding his speech.
Cybercrimes and organised crime
“By now, cybercrime has become part of organised crime”, Commissioner Responsible for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmstörm said, calling attention to a new aspect of the problem at the press conference. In her opinion, presently the most important task is to enable Member States to intensify their readiness for possible attacks. Ms Malmström also mentioned the importance of international cooperation, reminding that this issue would be discussed at the meeting of EU and US Ministers of Justice, at Gödöllő on 14 April.