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EU cybercrime plans may be put on hold

Sourse: News.Com
Date: June 05, 2003

Cybercrime Plans for a European agency to tackle cybercrime such as computer viruses and terror attacks may be sidelined because governments want to monitor it too tightly, the European Union said Wednesday.

The European Network and Information Security Agency, which would play a key advisory role to the 15 EU governments on how to combat Web-related threats, was expected to be up and running by the end of this year.

However, member states now say they want to directly appoint members of the management board, which would oversee the work of the agency. They are also seeking to ax a planned advisory panel meant to give voice to the industry, EU officials said.

The commission is fiercely opposing an overhaul of its planned structure and is threatening to withdraw the proposal.

"This debate is unnecessary. We are faced with cyberthreats on a daily basis, and we have no means to respond to them," a commission spokesman said.

The European Commission, the EU's executive body that proposed the agency, had wanted the new group to be a slim 30-man operation to rapidly react to virus attacks and other threats.

Authorities worldwide have woken up to the dangers of serious network failures, such as those caused by computer worm SQL Slammer earlier this year. Potential terror strikes are also a source of concern after the September 11 attacks.

Internet service providers say the agency would play a necessary role were it not to be hamstrung by governments' intervention.

"A very significant role exists for the new network security agency," said Louisa Gosling, president of Europe's ISP association EuroISPA. "However, we are worried that unnecessary bureaucracy in the structure of the new agency could seriously impact its effectiveness."

The agency is expected to cost the EU around $28 million (24 million euros) in five years. A further $10.5 million will be added once 10 new EU members join in May 2004

Original article: http://news.com.com/2100-1028_3-1013133.html

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