Labour: ‘New cyber-crime strategy needed’

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Shadow Home Secretary decries “out of date” laws that hinder police investigations.

Labour has called for an overhaul of how cybercrime is tackled, claiming the police “need to be able to operate more effectively” to deal with it.

In a speech at the left-of-centre think-tank Demos in London on March 3, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper (pictured) said there should be a new national strategy for online fraud.

She also stressed that “stronger action” against online indecent images of children was needed – with the bolstering the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre – plus a review of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to see if the legislation is fit for purpose.

Ms Cooper added: “In the face of growing online crime and abuse, and the use of online communications by criminals and extremists, the police, intelligence and security agencies need to be able to operate more effectively in this digital world.

“But for them to do so, we also need stronger safeguards and limits to protect our privacy and sustain confidence in their vital work. The oversight and legal frameworks are now out of date.

“That means we need major reforms to oversight and a thorough review of the legal framework to keep up with changing technology. And there are difficult wider challenges about privacy, data and the private sector, and how we protect British citizens’ interests in a global internet where everyone follows different rules.”

Ms Cooper said that consumer watchdog, Which, reported that half of people have been targeted by online scams and recorded online fraud is up 30 per cent. But she believed the figure was “the tip of the iceberg, because most of it is never reported to the police”.

The Shadow Home Secretary added that last year CEOP received 18,887 reports of child abuse – an increase of 14 per cent in 12 months.

In her speech, Ms Cooper added: “These issues – online crime, private sector data storage, intelligence operations –are often treated as separate. Yet all raise the same fundamental questions about how we sustain both liberty and security in a digital age.”

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