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European Union: Inauguration of Cyber Crime Center

(Jan. 14, 2013)

On January 11, 2013, the Cyber Crime Center (EC3), whose establishment had been planned by the European Commission since 2010, became a reality. The EC3 is located in the European Police Office (Europol) in The Hague, the Netherlands and is designed to protect citizens and businesses alike from cyber threats. Among its key tasks is the monitoring of illegal activities carried out by organized crime groups. In particular, the EC3 will focus on illegal activities in the field of e-banking and other online financial activities. (Press Release, IP/13/13, Rapid, European Cyber Crime Center (EC3) Opens on 11 January (Jan. 8, 2013).)

The EC3 has approximately 30 experts and plans to add 10 more in 2013. It is expected to become completely operational by 2015. However, in some areas, such as sexual exploitation of children by pedophiles, the Center is anticipated to have results by the end of 2013. (Nicolaj Nielsen, EU Cloud Snoops Pose Questions for EU Cybercrime Body, EU OBSERVER (Jan. 9, 2013).)

Other tasks of the EC3 include the facilitation of research and development and the promotion of cooperation among law enforcement, judges, and prosecutors. In order to assist national law enforcement authorities to apprehend cyber crime criminals, the EC3 will establish a Cyber Crime Help Desk. It will also prepare threat assessments that will include forecasts and early warnings. (Press Release, supra.)

Troels Oerting, the head of EC3, stated during the inauguration ceremony:

In combating 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. (Id.)

It is anticipated that the EC3 may also assuage European citizens’ concern about cyber security. Recently, the Eurobarometer, which conducts surveys of public opinion for the European Commission, stated that Europeans are very concerned about the issue. (Id.) According to one estimate, although 89% of Internet users do not disclose personal information, 12% have already experienced fraud in the course of engaging in online activities. (Id.)