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December 1, 2015

Europol granted greater cyber crime and terrorism powers

News: Regulations will promote great co-operation with private sector in fight against ISIS.

By Charlotte Henry

The EU’s police force, Europol, looks set to been given a power boost after The Civil Liberties Committee of MEPs approved new regulations. The final hurdle is the Council of Ministers, which could agree to the move in April 2016.

If it goes ahead, Europol will be able to form specialised units to try and tackle terrorist threats and organised crime, have greater clarity around the rules governing existing units, and be able to exchange information directly with private entities.

For example, the force will be able to contact social networks directly to delete pages run by terrorist groups such as ISIS or used to promote their cause.

Units affected include the Internet Referral Unit, who are involved in the swift removal of websites that promote terrorism, and the Counter Terrorism Centre, which comes into being at the start of 2016.

There will also be stronger data protection safeguards introduced, and Europol will have to provide an annual report to all elements of EU government – the European Parliament, Council and Commission, as well as national parliaments, outlining the information members states provide, in a bid to promote data sharing.

Yesterday, Europol took down nearly 1000 websites,including from the UK, that were selling counterfeit goods. It was also supported by Interpol, in an operation called In Our Sites VI.

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