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New minimum rules step up the fight against cybercrime

27-06-2012 12:53:00

The EU has taken one step further in the fight against cybercrime. The European Parliament and the Council have agreed on new minimum rules concerning the definitions and sanctions of criminal offences in the area of cybercrime. The file has been a priority for the Danish EU Presidency who in close cooperation with the European Commission and the European Par-liament has worked hard to achieve consensus on the matter.

The Directive aims at approximating the criminal legislation in the Member States in the area of cybercrime and introduces definitions of and sanctions for illegal access to information systems, illegal system and data interference and illegal interception. In addition, the proposal penalizes the production, sale, procurement for use, import and distribution of tools used for committing these offences. Furthermore, the proposal aims at facilitat-ing the prevention of such offences and at improving cooperation between judicial and other competent authorities.

President of the Council (Justice and Home Affairs), Minister of Justice Morten Bødskov, says:
"Attacks against information systems pose a growing challenge to our so-cieties. Such attacks can cause serious damage both in the Member States and the Union and the methods used to commit these offences are increasingly sophisticated. I am therefore very pleased that the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have agreed on new minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and the sanctions in the area of cybercrime. In my opinion the new rules step up the fight against cyber-crime significantly and I am grateful for the extensive work and excellent cooperation shown from all parties involved."

Member of the Parliament and Rapporteur, Monika Hohlmeier (EPP), Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), says:
"The outstandingly constructive and close dialogue that we have had with the Danish Presidency on this Directive has proved to be the bedrock for a broad compromise between Council, Parliament and Commission. While we started the negotiations on sanctions against cybercrime with very different positions, the Danish Presidency has skillfully managed to address the concerns of all sides and broker a balanced agreement. I particularly applaud their openness and understanding for Parliament's request for necessary flanking measures which will allow us to fight cybercrime more effectively in the future. This compromise is an example for an excellent interinstitutional debate and cooperation and will help to step up the fight against serious and harmful cybercrime in the EU and eventually lead to an improved cyber security for all our citizens."

Background

The proposal for a Directive on attacks against information systems was presented by the European Commission on 30 September 2010. The proposal replaces the current Council Framework Decision 2055/222/JHA of 24 February 2005 on attacks against information systems.
The Danish Presidency has been in close negotiations with the European Parliament since April 2012 in order to reach an agreement. The 4th of June a compromise was reached.

On 20th June 2012 the agreement was approved by the Council and has been forwarded to the European Parliament for its formal approval. As a consequence of the disagreement between the Council and the European Parliament in regard to the proposal for a Schengen evaluation mechanism, Parliament has indicated that they will not take steps towards formal ap-proval for the time being.

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