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European Commission proposes cyber crime center

(Xinhua)

15:47, March 29, 2012

BRUSSELS, March 28 (Xinhua) -- The European Commission on Wednesday proposed to establish a European cyber crime center to protect citizens and businesses from illegal online activities.

The commission, the EU's executive arm, proposed to set up the center within the European Police Office, or the Europol, which is headquartered in the Hague, the Netherlands.

The center would become "a hub for cooperation in defending an Internet that is free, open and safe," Cecilia Malmstrom, the EU's home affairs commissioner, said here on Wednesday.

The center will mainly focus on organized crime groups, especially those generating large criminal profits, such as online fraud involving credit cards and bank credentials, according to the commission.

It will also work on protecting social network profiles from e-crime infiltration and help the fight against online identity theft.

The commission's proposal still needs to be adopted by Europol's budgetary authority, but the center is expected to start operations in January 2013.

More than one million people across the world are estimated to become victims of cyber crime every day, whose cost could reach hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars worldwide.

Nearly three quarters of European households had Internet access at home by last year, while in the year 2010, over one third of EU citizens were banking online.

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