Cybercrime

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 6th February 2012.

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Photo of James Morris James Morris Conservative, Halesowen and Rowley Regis 2:30 pm, 6th February 2012

What recent assessment she has made of the level of cybercrime.

Photo of Jessica Lee Jessica Lee Conservative, Erewash

What recent assessment she has made of the level of cybercrime.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

A report by Detica and the Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance estimates that cybercrime could cost the UK as much as £27 billion a year. The Government published their cyber-security strategy in November, which sets out how we intend to tackle this threat.

Photo of James Morris James Morris Conservative, Halesowen and Rowley Regis

Tackling cybercrime requires a co-ordinated response across government, including liaison with the business community. What is the Minister doing to ensure that we get that level of cross-government co-ordination, and what is he doing to ensure that we get business involved in coming up with some of the solutions we need to tackle that growing problem?

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

I agree with my hon. Friend that this issue touches all sectors, whether it be Government, individuals, charities or the voluntary sector as well as business. We are working closely across government, including with the Office of Cyber-Security and Information Assurance, which co-ordinates the national programme. We said in the cyber-security strategy that we would create a forum, bringing together industry, law enforcement and Government. That is important, as we recognise that this is a broad and wide-ranging challenge. We shall take this forward in tandem with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Photo of Jessica Lee Jessica Lee Conservative, Erewash

Having recently dealt with an alleged victim of cyber-stalking in my Erewash constituency, I certainly welcome the specialist cybercrime units within the National Crime Agency, but does my hon. Friend agree that we must continue to work with Governments overseas to ensure that we continue to contain this threat?

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

My hon. Friend highlights a powerful and important point about the individual impact of these crimes. Although our legislation covers harassment—whether it happens on or offline—there is an international perspective to this challenge, with internet service providers potentially hosting material from overseas. We have recently been involved with a consultation on stalking, which closed yesterday, that asked for views on how to protect the victims of online stalking more effectively. We are now reviewing the submissions we have received; we will respond and publish the details of our response in due course.

Photo of Denis MacShane Denis MacShane Labour, Rotherham

I am sure the Minister will agree that cybercrime is quintessentially a transnational crime. Although his colleague the Minister for Immigration seems to think that the Lithuanian, Slovakian, Romanian, Bulgarian and Polish traffickers in British prisons are not from the European Union, will he inform the House what the Government’s position is on the European arrest warrant? This issue has been widely covered in the press. We brought Hussain Osman back from Rome after 7/7—

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

I say to the right hon. Gentleman that we do recognise the international perspective in respect of online criminality. That is why, unlike the previous Government, we ratified the Budapest convention—the Council of Europe convention on precisely this issue—to ensure that there is better co-ordination and greater focus on legislation relating to online crime. We drew attention to that approach at the London conference, and we continue to highlight this message.

Photo of Patrick Mercer Patrick Mercer Conservative, Newark

The Minister makes the point that cybercrime and cyber-attacks will be dealt with by more than one Department. What is the overlap between the Home Office and the Ministry of Defence and how will the costs be shared between them?

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

As my hon. Friend will be aware, this Government’s approach to cyber-security has included a commitment of £650 million to our cyber-security programme. We in the Home Office are focusing on the criminality aspects, for which £63 million has been identified. We also work with our colleagues across Government, including in the MOD, and the Cabinet Office co-ordinates the overall approach. There is a joined-up approach across Government, therefore, because we recognise that this issue must be addressed in that way.