Ask EP By / November 30, 2017

What is the EU doing to combat cybercrime?

Citizens write to the European Parliament to find out what the EU is doing to combat cybercrime.

Copyright: ArtemSam / Fotolia

Citizens write to the European Parliament to find out what the EU is doing to combat cybercrime.

To tackle cybercrime, the EU has implemented legislation and supports cooperation as part of the 2013 EU Cybersecurity Strategy.

Close-up view on conceptual keyboard - Cybercrime (red key)
Copyright: ArtemSam / Fotolia

Given the increase in the frequency and severity of cybercrime, the European Parliament (EP) adopted a non-legislative resolution on the fight against cybercrime, on 3 October 2017. Members of the European Parliament, among other things, ‘condemn any system interference undertaken or directed by a foreign nation or its agents to disrupt the democratic process of another country’. Furthermore, the European Parliament stresses that ‘awareness about the risks posed by cybercrime has increased, but precautionary measures taken by individual users, public institutions and businesses, remain wholly inadequate, primarily due to lack of knowledge and resources’.

The key issues highlighted in the resolution are prevention, increasing the responsibility of service providers, enhanced police and judicial cooperation and close cooperation between law enforcement authorities. The EP press release of 3 October 2017 has more information on the matter.

EU bodies to combat cybercrime

On 13 September 2017, in his annual State of the Union Address, President Jean-Claude Juncker stated: ‘… the Commission is proposing new tools, including a European Cybersecurity Agency, to help defend us against such attacks’. On 19 September 2017, the Commission announced further actions to tackle cybercrime, including a new European certification scheme aiming at ensuring that products and services in the digital world are safe to use.

The European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) supports exchange of good practices between EU Member States. In 2013, Europol set up the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) to strengthen the law enforcement response to cybercrime in the EU. It acts as the focal point in the fight against cybercrime in the Union, pooling European cybercrime expertise in support of Member States’ cybercrime investigations.

Other measures

Among steps taken to combat cybercrime at the international level is the Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Online: The alliance is a joint initiative by the EU and the United States, gathering 54 countries from around the world to fight child sexual abuse together.

A number of parliamentary questions have been put to the Commission on the topic of cybercrime, for example on international cooperation in the field of cybercrime or on protecting the EU against cybercrime. In its answer to a parliamentary question on cybercrime victims, the European Commission underlines that, to improve international cooperation, it ‘strongly supports the Council of Europe Budapest Convention on Cybercrime as well as public-private partnerships and cooperation mechanisms through dedicated projects’.

Further information

The European Parliament’s Think Tank website contains a number of publications on cybercrime. The European Parliament legislative train application provides further information on removing legal obstacles to criminal investigations on cybercrime.

Fact sheets are available on EU cybersecurity initiatives and how the Commission is scaling up its response to cyber-attacks, published by the European Commission. Finally, to highlight the scale of the growing problem, Europol issued the 2017 Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA): IOCTA 2017 report.

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