The European Commission (EC) will host meetings between technology companies such as Facebook, Google and Twitter and law enforcement agencies to discuss concerns that encryption technologies are aiding terrorists and cyber criminals.
The meetings will be hosted as part of a new ‘forum’ to facilitate communication between tech firms and law enforcement agencies, and will also focus on how best to tackle content on social media sites promoting terrorism and extremism.
“The Forum will focus on deploying the best tools to counter terrorist propaganda on the internet and in social media,” the EC said.
“In cooperation with IT companies, the Forum will also explore the concerns of law enforcement authorities on new encryption technologies.”
The EC told V3 that the first meeting took place in October last year and brought together EU Member States’ Ministers of the Interior and senior representatives of Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft.
“Discussions were fruitful and focused on the challenges posed by the terrorist propaganda on the internet and it was agreed to organise joint training and awareness raising workshops for the representatives of the law enforcement authorities, the internet industry and civil society,” the EC added.
The plans were revealed as part of the EC’s new five-year security agenda that aims to tackle the major security threats facing Europe: terrorism, radicalisation, organised crime and cybercrime.
As part of the focus on cybercrime the EC said it is important that, while the privacy of citizens should be respected, the right data for law enforcement agencies is also vital to protect Europe’s security.
“Clear rules are needed to ensure that data protection principles are respected in full, while law enforcement gains access to the data it needs to protect the privacy of citizens against cybercrime and identity theft,” the report said.
The strategy also calls for greater cooperation between all elements of society when tackling cybercrime, so that key information is shared with all relevant parties.
“Cooperation with the private sector is also of critical importance, with public-private partnerships to structure a common effort to fight online crime,” the report said.
“The response to cybercrime (e.g. phishing) must involve the entire chain, from Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre and computer emergency response teams in the member states concerned by the attack, to internet service providers that can warn end users and provide technical protection.”
Work to improve industry collaboration on security threats has proved successful in recent weeks following take downs of several notable botnets such as Ramnit and Beebone involving private sector firms and government agencies.