Friday, July 11, 2008

Are banks going soft on e-crime?

CONCERN : Are banks going soft on e-crime?

Give victims chance to report crimes directly, say Lords

By Nick Heath

08 July 2008


Banks are failing to pass on information about online fraud to police, according to a House of Lords committee.

The Lords science and technology committee has called for people to be able to report crime directly to the police, rather than having to rely on banks to pass it on to law enforcers.

The committee first made its recommendations on tackling online crime in its Personal Internet Security report in August 2007.

The committee's follow-up report says banks may have a "commercial" incentive not to refer cases to the police, and committee member Lord Broers said banks were referring "very few cases" - something the industry denies.

The government has said it will review whether people could report online fraud directly to the police but Broers said it had only received verbal "ministerial promises".

In its follow up report, the committee also urges the government to make it easier for victims of electronic fraud to get compensation, put funding in place for a central e-crime policing unit and create a data security breach notification law to be introduced.

Broers said: "There has been a general apathy towards these issues in government, they see them as complex and do not understand them. Meanwhile people are seeing these problems getting worse and worse and the criminals are getting away with it."

Home Office suggestions that the National Fraud Reporting Centre will have a national e-crime investigation arm were welcomed by the committee but it criticised the time it was taking to establish a countywide cyber crime unit.

Arguing for a data breach notification law, as called for by silicon.com's Full Disclosure campaign, the committee says a law would provide both an incentive to avoid data loss and an early warning for affected customers.

But a spokeswoman for the UK payments industry body Apacs said the committee had no figures to back up assertions banks were not passing online frauds to the police.

She said: "It is not in the banks interest to not have these frauds investigated, these are organised gangs behind these crimes and it is in our interest to stop them doing it."

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