SOCA “better than NHTCU”

In a keynote speech at last month’s Infosec IT conference, Tony Neate, e-crime liaison at the newly created Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) argued that the new organisation was in a much better position to fight electronic crime than the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU).

May 18, 2006
By David Howell
PCC Donna Jones

In a keynote speech at last month’s Infosec IT conference, Tony Neate, e-crime liaison at the newly created Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) argued that the new organisation was in a much better position to fight electronic crime than the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU).

In his speech he stated: “The future is looking brighter because people are prepared to talk about [security breaches] now. The NHTCU has not gone away, we are now part of an organisation with four other arms. We’re getting cleverer and will still be there to support business and consumers.”

Concern has been raised that businesses who now have to report any incidents of computer crime to their local force would be discouraged in making any report at all because of a perception that local forces don’t have the expertise and resources to deal with this kind of technical crime. One lobbyist stated: “It will be interesting to see how [SOCA] beds down. The people in it are good, but it worries me that new police agencies are being set up with huge powers but outside the Police Act. I’d like to see more democratic accountability.”

Also, concern about the abandonment of the confidentiality charter that the NHTCU offered to anyone that came forward about a computer based crime is still an issue, but Stephen Bonner, director of technical security at Barclays Capital stated that he thought that businesses wouldn’t be discouraged from reporting any incidents to their local police. The debate continues.

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