Europol gets more legal muscle in fight against cyber criminals


The European Council announced yesterday it will strengthen the role of Europol in the fight against cyber crime with EU ambassadors agreeing to negotiate a mandate on a draft regulation amending the current one.

The amendment concerns  Europol’s cooperation with private parties, its processing of personal data in support of criminal investigations and its role on research and innovation.

“Criminals constantly adapt the way they function, and if we want to fight them successfully so must we. In a context of increasingly cross-border and digital crime, Europol has a growing role to play in supporting member states and driving innovation in law enforcement. These draft new rules will provide it with the necessary tools to achieve this.” said Eduardo Cabrita, Portuguese minister of the interior

According to the Council announcement, as a result of the increased use of online services by criminals, private parties hold a growing amount of personal data that may be relevant for criminal investigations. Given the borderless nature of the internet, these services can often be provided from anywhere in the world.

Under the draft rules, Europol will be able to receive personal data directly from private parties, to ensure a point of contact at EU level to lawfully share multi-jurisdictional data sets. Europol will then be able to analyse these datasets in order to identify the relevant member states and forward the information to the national authorities.