From: THE LORD GRENFELL Chairman of the Select Committee on the European Union
COMMITTEE OFFICE HOUSE OF LORDS LONDON SW1A 0PW
Tel: 020 7219 6083 Fax: 020 7219 6715
5 July 2007
Doc 10089/07: Commission Communication Towards a General Policy on the Fight against Cyber Crime This proposal was considered by Sub-Committee E (Law and Institutions) at its meeting of 4 July 2007. We strongly support action at EU level to combat cyber crime and therefore welcome the Commission‟s Communication. Legal base In your EM, under „legal base‟, you simply say “not applicable”. But it is clear that there is a substantial amount of Commission activity and expenditure here. As the Court of Justice has said, this requires a legal base to be established. We would therefore be grateful to have your views on the question of legal base. Illegal obscene content We note the Government‟s support for action against illegal obscene content and for work focussed on child abuse websites. Are you content with the action proposed by the Commission in paragraph 4.3 of the Communication? If not, what additions/alterations do you propose? Definition of cyber crime We too would welcome a full discussion about the definition of cyber crime. In our view this is an important precursor to an effective cyber crime policy. What efforts have been made to agree a definition of cyber crime across the EU? The Commission does not suggest in its Communication renewed efforts to arrive at a definition of cyber crime: does the UK intend to pursue this point in the Council? Targeted legislation against cyber crime We welcome the Commission‟s intention to consult prior to introducing any legislative proposal against cyber crime. We are pleased to hear that the Government intend to participate actively in these consultations and look forward to further information as to the nature of these consultations and the Government‟s response in due course.
Council of Europe Convention We note that the UK has signed the Council of Europe Convention on Cyber Crime and would be interested to hear why it has not yet been ratified. The Commission suggests the accession of the European Community to the Council of Europe Convention. It is premature to speculate on how this would be achieved given the pending changes to the Community/Union‟s institutional framework. However, we note that at present there would appear to be no competence for the Community to accede to a Convention which relates to Third Pillar matters. More generally we are concerned about the external competence implications of the Commission‟s proposals. See, for example, paragraph 4.1: „actively participate in and promote global international cooperation in the fight against cyber crime‟. To what extent do the Government consider that external competence exists? We have decided to retain the proposal under scrutiny. I am copying this letter to Michael Connarty MP, Chairman of the Commons European Scrutiny Committee; and to Alistair Doherty, Clerk to the Commons Committee; Michael Carpenter, Legal Adviser to the Commons Committee; Les Saunders (Cabinet Office); and Eldon Ward, Departmental Scrutiny Co-ordinator.
The Rt Hon Vernon Coaker MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Home Office 2 Marsham Street London SW1P 4DF