Home Affairs Select Committee reports Britain’s poor response to fraud online and failure to safeguard consumers, merchants or banks in this regard.
Some concerning information has emerged from the committee’s report, conducted over a ten month period, revealing the enormity of the cybercrime scope in Britain and what seems to be a less than adequate response to meet the challenge.
The government has not allocated enough money to the problem. And budget cuts are an influencing factor, limiting resources for police interference. “We’ve been saying for some considerable time that the cuts to the service, 20% cuts that we’re facing and a further 4.9% on the comprehensive spending review, does adversely affect service delivery,” said Steve Williams, Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales.
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Cybercrime is now costing the economy more than the total value of the drug industry with billions of dollars stolen each year throughout Europe and the numbers are growing. David Benford, Associate Lecturer in Cybercrime and Digital Forensics, says that the availability of information on the internet opens doors for criminals just waiting for an opportunity for card fraud, child exploitation, identity theft and industrial espionage.
But why is Britain not doing enough to meet these criminals in a counter-attack?
The report suggests that much of the fraud that happens is not reported by banks and thus cannot be dealt with but, on the other hand, the government is apparently reporting inaccurate numbers about cybercrime: “The official government’s recorded crime rate I’m afraid do not paint an accurate picture of the number of offences being committed throughout England and Wales,” says Steve Williams. And in addition to this, resources are being pulled from institutions that have been established to fight against cyber threats like the child exploitation and online protection center which is currently losing its funding.