EU Starts Dialogue With Internet Providers to Probe Cybercrimes

  • Legislative patchwork stymies cross-border investigations
  • No date set for EU laws on international data disclosure

European Union governments will seek to better coordinate cross-border investigations into Internet fraud, trying to plug holes in the prosecution of international digital crimes.

Officials from the European Commission will start a “dialogue” with Internet service providers to find ways of pinpointing the location of cyberattacks and make it easier for police in one country to subpoena electronic evidence from another.

“Cybercrime has no borders, while we are closed in our national jurisdictions,” EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova told reporters in Amsterdam on Tuesday after a meeting of national ministers. “We need a common approach instead of a patchwork.”

Internet providers are willing to cooperate, and many are opening electronic records to national law enforcement, but different rules on privacy and data disclosure snarl international probes, Dutch Justice Minister Ard van der Steur said.

“Technically advanced criminals can still find a safe haven in cyberspace,” he said. “We do not want criminals to feel untouchable.”

Legal experts from the 28 governments will meet in March to take stock of progress. No date was set for the commission, the EU’s executive agency, to propose legislation.

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