The European Union will open a new cybercrime center in the Netherlands next year to combat online fraudsters who are skimming millions of euros a day from a growing number of its half billion citizens, reports the International Herald Tribune. In addition, an EU committee proposed mandatory jail time across all 27 member states for some online offenses. The EU Commission said cybercrime was a global and cross-border phenomenon that now brought more profits for organized crime — $388 billion a year worldwide — than the global trade in marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined.
In Europe, detection and prosecution of cybercrime has been hampered by inadequate information sharing between national jurisdictions. The new center, set to open early next year, will focus on organized crime gangs engaged in online fraud, online predators who sexually exploit children, and hackers who attack critical infrastructure and IT systems. It will be located at the headquarters of Europol, the European criminal intelligence agency in The Hague. The Commission estimated that more than a third of EU citizens now bank online and the incidence of fraud is growing.