Demand for e-police group grows

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Demand for e-police group grows

Calls for a new unit dedicated to policing digital crime are growing louder at the same time as the information commissioner laid out ground rules for protecting individual privacy.

A petition for security on the 10, Downing Street website calls for a unit dedicated to countering technology crime and is attracting enthusiastic support.

Geoff Donson, group security manager at Telecity and formerly of the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, said that recent headcount reductions at the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) are bad news.

“When Soca is so new it’s of great concern,” Donson said. “This is the honeymoon period so personnel cuts are very worrying. The good work the NHTCU did has all gone to the wall and that’s really quite sad. Industry is desperate for a [technology-specific crime unit].”

Philip Virgo, strategic advisor to the Institute for the Management of Information Systems, said, "The idea of curbing the resources available to handle the criminal activity that will result from the recent revelations of losses of personal data from central government departments … is bizarre."

Separately, the fallout from the HMRC scandal continued last week as the Information Commissioner’s Office called for firms to consider the privacy of individuals before developing new IT systems.

David Smith, assistant commissioner at the ICO, described the HMRC fiasco as a watershed in privacy, and added that businesses should consider the privacy implications of any new technologies and systems. The ICO has launched a guide to help firms better manage data, and give individuals more confidence in their ability to protect privacy.

Mike Davis, an analyst at Ovum, said, "The ICO is trying to up its game here. Planning for privacy from the start is obviously the right way to go, as typically it isn't included in development plans." @ 2010 Incisive Media
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