In the Media

E-crime laws failing, say top experts

PUBLISHED April 13, 2006

Police and government officials are calling for cybercrime legislation with teeth.

Leading government figures and senior law enforcement officers think cybercrime legislation is ineffectual and unenforceable, according to a report published on Wednesday by Websense, a security vendor.

The survey of 112 security professionals and law enforcers found that three-quarters of them believe current legislation isn't capable of dealing with e-crime against businesses and consumers.

"They felt legislation lacked teeth both nationally and internationally, and that there was a lack of enforcement through the courts," said Mark Murtagh, European technical director for Websense.

In the UK, experts have long argued that the existing Computer Misuse Act is inadequate, and needs to be updated. In January, the government finally agreed to modernise the act.

Police also felt they did not have enough resources to deal with cybercrime issues, and that they was a lack of cooperation across jurisdictions. Websense welcomed the creation of the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca) as fostering international cybercrime-fighting cooperation.

"This is where Soca will help," said Murtagh. "The National Crime Squad and the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, the National Criminal Intelligence Service, HMRC and the UK Immigration Service are now all working together in Soca to make a significant impact on e-crime.

However, some experts have warned that Soca won't have the resources to fight cybercrime effectively.

The survey was conducted at the E-Crime Congress 2006, held in London in March.