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House of Lords to quiz National Crime Agency on cybercrime

The House of Lords Communications Committee will quiz the UK’s National Crime Agency and other authorities on issues surrounding cybercrime later this week.

On Tuesday 15 May, the committee will hear from representatives at the agency and the National Police Chiefs’ Council as part of the evidence-gathering process for its inquiry, ‘The Internet: to regulate or not to regulate?’.

Also giving evidence are witnesses from the Internet Watch Foundation and the Metropolitan Police.

The Lords’ committee will ask the witnesses about the challenges of dealing with internet crime, as well as how their organisations seek to remove illegal online content. There will also be a focus on whether they have enough resources to deal with the scale of cybercrime.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the wider retail industry have long called for more collaboration between businesses and authorities to stave off cybercrime, which is becoming a greater threat to the sector every year.

Various moves have been made to tackle what is a growing concern, including the launch of the National Crime Agency’s Cyber Crime Unit nearly five years ago. The BRC also gave its support to the government's National Cyber Security Centre, which was opened in autumn 2016, saying it provided an “integrated approach” to addressing the issue.

This week’s evidence session will see the committee hear from Will Kerr, director of vulnerabilities at the National Crime Agency, and his colleague, director of prosperity Donald Toon. Other participants will be: Stephen Kavanagh from the National Police Chiefs’ Council; Susie Hargreaves, CEO of Internet Watch Foundation; Phil Tomlinson, head of the National Digital Exploitation Service at Metropolitan Police.

According The House of Lords, questions likely to be posed to those giving evidence revolve around whether or not it is reasonable to expect platforms or other internet hosting services to self-regulate content online, as well as the role of encryption when investigating crimes.

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