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Crime: Internet

Volume 470: debated on Tuesday 15 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations she has received from (a) businesses and (b) organisations representing business on the establishment of a Police Central E-Crime Unit. (173822)

The Secretary of State has not received any formal representations from business or business organisations regarding the establishment of a Police Central E-Crime Unit.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions Ministers and officials in her Department have had with HM Treasury on funding for a Police Central E-Crime Unit. (173824)

Home Office Ministers and officials have not held any discussions with HM Treasury regarding funding for any police e-crime unit.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she expects to receive a business case for the establishment of a Police Central E-Crime Unit. (173825)

The Home Office has received an initial business case from ACPO, and has asked for a more developed case to be presented. It is essential that any new unit formed has clear objectives, and does not overlap with any other law enforcement activity.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of legal sanctions in prosecuting the hiring of botnets to carry out phishing, directed denial of service and other cyber attacks on computer networks. (173829)

The Government have introduced amendments to the Computer Misuse Act 1990 under section 5 (37) of the Police and Justice Act 2006 that creates a new offence of making, adapting or supplying articles for use in computer misuse offences. This offence covers the potential hiring out of botnets to carry such attacks. It is likely that this offence will come into force in April 2008. Guidance on the use of this new offence will be issued by the end of 2007.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent estimate she has made of the number of computers in the UK infected with malicious software enabling them to be used by third parties in botnet attacks. (173830)

The Government recognise the problems of malicious software, and works with industry to encourage them to implement security solutions both on their networks and for consumers. The Government also support Get Safe Online, which provides consumers and businesses with information on how to protect themselves.