A report titled the ‘Cyber Blue Line’, has recently been published by Europol. It highlights the challenges of policing cyberspace, particularly with regard to online safety and security.

Europol Report

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The cyber blue line report

The police force has been known colloquially as the ‘thin blue line’ for many years in the UK. But in the past, the threat has usually been tangible. Now, however, the police face a new problem: cybercrime. And in this context, the traditional methods of policing are not particularly relevant.

This is the focus of a new report published recently by Interpol, aptly named the ‘Cyber Blue Line’. The authors investigate the ways in which policing could be approached, now that cybercrimes are becoming increasingly prevalent. Until now, the emphasis has been on cybersecurity solutions to online threats. However, this approach could be considered too one-dimensional, as it focusses primarily on protecting data, networks and systems.

The report emphasises that new technologies are needed, such as those developed in Estonia, known as the ‘Web Constable’. This is a dedicated group of police officers who are present online and provide advice and answers to citizens wanting to know more about cybersecurity. The real challenge, says the report, is a broader awareness of societal issues. This is needed to tackle hacking, cybercrime and risk-taking behaviours online, such as sending images of a sexual nature.

What does this mean for you?

The advancement of technology has permitted a new brand of criminal offences to take place. There is now easy access to criminal products and services. Cyberattacks are not uncommon, and there is a large online market for fake and counterfeit goods. Encryption by criminal gangs has also hindered investigations. Domains exist that are “warrant proof” or beyond the law, making them hard to monitor and deliver collective security. Cyberspace is, as the report describes, a “new borderless, constantly expanding societal domain”.

As the report demonstrates, the authorities are aware of these shortcomings in policing cyberspace. Work is being done to shut down criminal opportunities in the cyberspace economy, and new online safety technologies are evolving. These aim to facilitate safer online experiences. However, this has to be balanced with the ethical complexities of cameras, number plate recognition, facial recognition, drones and predictive profiling. If not handled properly, any innovative policing tactics could represent a breach of privacy and civil liberties.

 Cybercrime legislation

Cybercrime is a particularly complicated area of the law thanks to the new and rapidly evolving nature of the online world. The legislation – and the police – are struggling to keep pace with the times. And while new police methods could be implemented in the not-too-distant future, it remains to be seen what these will be, and whether they will actually be lawful.

Because of these complexities, it is vital to instruct a solicitor who specialises in cybercrime, if you are linked to cybercrime offences. At Ashmans Solicitors, we remain up-to-date on the latest legislative changes, ensuring we can advise you properly. We are also highly experienced in the field of cybercrime, making us best-placed to act as your defence solicitors.

Cyber Blue Line Report

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We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We also offer free police station representation.