Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'New Cyber Cops to Hunt Paedophiles, Not Spy on Us All'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'New Cyber Cops to Hunt Paedophiles, Not Spy on Us All'

Article excerpt


THE HEAD of Britain's first hi-tech crime unit moved today to allay fears about a new era of mass surveillance, promising that his team of "cyber cops" would not become serial email snoopers.

Det Chief Supt Len Hynds, speaking in London as the new [pound]25 million National Hi-Tech Crime Unit was launched to step up the fight against paedophiles, fraud-sters and computer hackers, said: "There is no intention whatsoever for us to randomly intercept and monitor people's emails - we have neither the inclination, the capability or the legal power to do so."

Civil liberties campaigners, however, pointed out that police will have the power to find out which internet sites individuals have visited and would be able to monitor their email traffic in a bid to uncover criminal networks.

John Wadham, director of watchdog group Liberty, said at the Science Museum launch today: "We are concerned about the development of greater police powers to access our personal information, and in particular [about] accessing emails and noting the websites we visit around the internet.

"There needs to be a strong emphasis on safeguards and protecrepresentatives yesterday, according to her officials.

However, some at Westminster claim it was highly convenient tion of privacy." The next 12 months will be spent recruiting 40 "cyber cops" based at the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) in London, and backed by a further 46 officers representing every force in England and Wales.

By next year the new unit - set up by Home Secretary Jack Straw - will work with others around the world to form a 24-hour intelligence network aimed at breaking paedophile rings and providing early warning against computer viruses.

It will also work to protect consumers and businesses from organised e-commerce fraud. The unit will partner intelligence experts at NCIS with detectives from the National Crime Squad conducting national and international operations against cyber criminals. …

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