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Challenges and prospects

Cross-border collaboration

Security – at home, at work and on-line – has become a major concern in Europe. EU policy-makers recognise their responsibility to provide a safe environment for all Europe’s citizens. But this is a major challenge, especially as information communication technologies tighten their grip on the way Europeans work and play, increasing their exposure to criminal activities. New policy measures aimed at increasing information security should not lose sight of the existing legislation in their effort to keep pace with rapidly changing technologies and standards.

A lack of coherency between Member States is hampering the ability of EU law enforcers to respond to crimes, especially those against information systems. The cross-border nature of crimes, such as on-line fraud, computer hacking and the spread of viruses like the ‘Love Bug’, requires cross-border solutions.

In April 2002, the European Commission adopted the Council Framework Decision on ‘Attacks against information systems’ to plug the legal gap between different Union countries, promoting increased cross-border information security.

Forensic science also benefits from increased EU-level co-operation. Sharing criminal information between Member States is vital in the battle against organised international crime. This information is more valid – scientifically and legally – in different EU countries when investigators apply uniform testing approaches. The Union has supported several ‘measurements and testing’ research projects, including research into DNA profiling standards and uniform testing against doping in sport. Significant research has gone into fighting fraud – including food fraud and web cheaters – to protect Europe’s economic interests as well as the health and safety of its citizens.  

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