Police need intercept tools as mobile networks develop: Europol
19 Jul 2019

European law enforcement agencies set to lose the ability to tap criminals’ mobile devices with the launch of 5G technology must be brought into discussions earlier when communications networks are modernised, the new head of Europol told Reuters.

Appealing to EU leaders for greater powers to fight tech-savvy criminals, Catherine De Bolle said its member states do not yet have the domestic regulations or technology to fill the policing gap that will open up when 4G networks become obsolete.

“It is one of the most important investigative tools that police officers and services have, so we need this in the future,” she said in an interview, giving the example of locating a child who has been kidnapped.

European police authorities are now able to listen to and track wanted criminals using mobile communication devices on the 4G network, but “we cannot use them in the 5G network,” De Bolle said.

She said European law enforcement agencies were brought into talks on the 5G transition among tech companies and policymakers too late. That meant that officials were now being forced to seek ways to limit the damage when police are stripped of critical surveillance capabilities under 5G.

The comments came as Europol released a report on crime fighting in the digital era, called “Do Criminals Dream of Electric Sheep,” which described the adoption by criminals of new encrypted communication tools, 3-D printing technology and hacking capabilities that target potential victims online.

It highlighted the ability by terrorists to use self-driving cars or drones as weapons, artificial intelligence that can spread fake news and high-speed quantum computing that may help crack encryption codes.

By Anthony Deutsch, Reuters, 18 July 2019

Read more at Reuters

Photo: OSeveno [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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