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EUNITED against Crime: Digital evidence, privacy and security in the European Union

23/11/2016, Brussels

Seminar organised in cooperation with Ceps. Presentation of the results of the IAI research on "EUnited against crime: Improving criminal justice in the European Union cyberspace", supported by Microsoft.

Terrorist and criminal organizations increasingly rely on information and communication technologies (ICT) to coordinate and plan their activities. In the age of Big Data, intelligence and law enforcement agencies can exploit the deluge of available data to buttress criminal investigations in order to help prevent violence. Police and security agencies clearly would like access to this data to reveal terrorists’ operational schemes and intentions. Nevertheless, access to personal data needs to be balanced with the need to guarantee citizens’ privacy and safety on the internet.

While the collection of digital evidence is becoming more and more important in criminal justice, countries have different laws when it comes to obtaining digital evidence. As a result, unilateral measures to obtain evidence are being adoptedat the national level, making the international sharing of data complex. There is, therefore, a need to develop an international solution to enable effective criminal justice, at least within the EU.

This seminar, organized in cooperation with CEPS, explored key issues including:

How do countries in the EU obtain digital evidence to investigate crime and terrorism-related offences?
Is there any possibility for a harmonized approach to obtain digital evidence at the EU level?
Given that EU and national frameworks protect privacy as a human right, how can we ensure that law enforcement authorities are able to conduct investigations in cyberspace effectively while, at the same time, guaranteeing that it remains a safe environment where people need have no fear of being spied upon?

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