Tag Archives: Law

EU Respond To Cyber Threath Alarm

EU’s anti-cyber-crime agency ENISA will start working with Europol to track down hackers and the creators of botnets like Conficker and Stuxnet, the EUobserver reports. A new law is about to be adopted, making the setup of these zombie networks illegal. The EU commission says it does not want to terrify people but notes that the Stuxnet could be used to sabotage a nuclear plant.

“To anyone who thinks that cyber-attacks are an abstract concept, I would say that for millions of people each year there are already direct practical consequences.”

Neelie Kroes


During a press briefing in Brussels Thursday, the EU commission for Home Affairs highlighted the creation of two large-scale cyber weapons in the past two years as examples of the increasingly dangerous environment on the Internet, citing internal alerts from British, French and Germany military intelligence.  In January and February last year the Conficker prevented French fighter planes from taking off, in addition to  shutting down the British and German army websites.

The so-called Conficker botnet has since 2008 installed malicious software on an estimated 12 million personal computers worldwide turning them into “zombies,” capable of collectively sending 10 billion spam emails a day without the owners’ knowledge.

The massive spamming can be used to steal money, blackmail banks or other firms with the threat of a shutdown or to get hold of classified information.

Conficker in January and February 2009 prevented French fighter planes from taking off and shut down British and German army websites.

The Stuxnet botnet is designed to take over the control systems of industrial plants, including nuclear installations, in order to sabotage operations.

It has reportedly affected facilities in China and Iran prompting speculation on the involvement of Israeli and US secret services.

A former US National Security Agency officer, Charlie Miller,  estimates that a hostile foreign power, given just €86 million ($105 million) and a team of 750 spies and hackers, could launch a devastating cyber attack on the EU.

In Miller’s worst case scenario, the 27 EU countries would wake up one day to find electricity power stations shut down, phone and internet communications disabled, air, rail and road transport impossible,  stock exchanges and bank transactions frozen, crucial data in government and financial institutions stolen and military units cut off from central command or receiving fake orders.


Celia Malmstrøm

“I don’t want you to walk out of here totally terrified, but just to give you an idea that there is a threat,” EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecila Malmstrom, said at the press briefing in Brussels, on Thursday, according to the EUobserver.com.

“To anyone thinking that cyber-attacks are an abstract concept, I would say that for millions of people each year there are already direct practical consequences. When your money is quietly stolen from your bank account or your country is shut down – as happened to Estonia in 2007 – the threat suddenly becomes very real,” EU’s Information Society Commissioner, Neelie Kroes,  said at the same event.

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5 Years In Prison For Cyber Crime Attempt

The Malmstrom-Kroes package, presented today,  gives new powers to the EU Crete-based European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA), as well as new anti-cyber-crime legislation that could put people in jail for years.

Ms. Kroes wants ENISA to work with Europol (the EU version of Interpool) and Frontex (the EU’s Warsaw-situated border security agency) in forensic operations to track down the people behind cyber attacks.

ENISA will also to set up an EU-wide alert system on the cyber attack threat level, and a Computer Emergency Response Team inside the EU institutions.

The agency’s mandate has up until now been limited to research on security of e-commerce.

The Malstrom directive draft, approved by the commission today,  is aimed to obligate the EU countries to criminalize the creation of botnets, and to collect and share cyber-crime data.

It will also demand that member states punish cyber criminals and the “instigation, aiding, abetting and attempt” of cyber crimes with up to five years in prison.

Ms. Kroes says she hopes the new measures will be in place by 2012, and that she is “rather hopeful” of success after the first contacts with the members of the EU Parliament and member states who will have  to give the new developments a green light.

Europe: Cyber Criminals Attack Critical Water, Oil and Gas Systems

Hackers Steal CO2-emission Permits Worth $4bn

Another Carbon Fraud Raid Reveals Firearms, Piles Of Cash

EU Demand Explanation On US Plan To Monitor Money Transfers

Julian Assange: Journalist, Activist or Informant?

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EU Minster Compare France With Nazi Germany; Receive Standing Ovations

The French government are under heavy pressure because of its decision to expel over 1000 Romans from the country. But now the French have had it; EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding indirectly compared the French actions with Nazi Germany‘s deportation of Jews during World War II, saying that “this is a situation I had thought Europe would not have to witness again after the Second World War.”

“This is not how you speak to a major power like France, which is the mother of human rights.”

Bernard Valero

Over 440 Roma camps have been dismantled in the past month and more than 1,000 Romanian and Bulgarian citizens sent back to their home countries as part of the massive crackdown on illegal immigration, ordered by President Nicolas Sarkozy at the end of July. The expulsion of gypsies from France have been met with with storm of protest from both EU politicians and human rights organizations.

“A plane ticket to one’s country of origin in the European Union is not a death train, and is not the gas chamber.”

This remark by EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding in a radio interview, yesterday, have really got the French out of their chairs and up on the barricades.

Viviane Reding

Viviane Reding

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Ms. Reding said she was “appalled” at the French policy. She called the developments a “disgrace” and said the commission will take legal action against Paris at the EU court in Luxembourg.

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All the political groups in the European Parliament have welcomed Viviane Reding’s intervention, except for the center-right European People’s Party, to which, awkwardly, both President Sarkozy and Ms. Reding are affiliated.

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The Mother Of Human Rights

Focusing in on the commissioner’s remark, Tuesday, the French politicians today says that Ms Reding’s “unseemly” remarks in effect compare France to the Nazi regime.

Bernard Valero

According to the EUobserver, spokesman for the French foreign ministry Bernard Valero says that Paris is “astonished” by Ms Reding’s statement.

“We don’t think that this kind of declaration will help improve the predicament of the Roma, who are at the heart of our concerns,” Valero says.

“This is not how you speak to a major power like France, which is the mother of human rights.”

Head of Mr. Sarkozy’s UMP party in the National Assembly, Jean-Francois Cope, also dismiss Ms Reding’s comments as “baseless accusations” and suggested the EU commission had “ulterior motives.”

Voluntary Deportations

French authorities deported over 200 Roma to Romania the same day that Ms. Reding spoke out on the commission podium. Some 230 explees, including children, landed in Bucharest on Tuesday in what France is calling “voluntary deportations” in defiance of human rights groups.

Over 440 Roma camps have been dismantled in the past month and more than 1.000 Romanian and Bulgarian citizens sent back to their home countries as part of the massive crackdown on “illegal immigration” ordered by President Nicolas Sarkozy at the end of July.

Most of the Roma interviewed by journalists upon arrival in Romania said they would return to France, because the economic situation is better, even if they get deported again.

Romanian local authorities are speed-tracking procedures for social assistance, but the fresh aid is unlikely to keep them in the country.

Xenophobic, Discriminatory And Nationalistic

Spokeswoman for the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, says to the EUobserver that “the commission is the guardian of the EU treaties. If it finds that France broke the law, it should proceed accordingly.”

The head of the Liberal group, Guy Verhofstadt, says in a statement: “Europe is finally proving its worth by not ignoring xenophobic, discriminatory, and nationalist policies perpetrated by member states. We welcome commissioner Reding’s action to bring fast-track infringement proceedings against France.”

Socialist leader Martin Schulz also welcomed the Reding speech, but says the reaction came “too late for hundreds of Roman people,” already deported by the French government.

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Human Rights Groups Flabbergasted

Human rights groups have rallied behind the commission.

Amnesty International, which has behind the scenes been trying to push the commission to take action, was flabbergasted by the force of the response.

“This has never happened before. I mean, there were 10,000 Roma deported by various member states last year and the commission didn’t say anything,” Nele Meyer, the group’s Roman expert says.

“We are absolutely surprised and delighted that Reding took such a strong line.”

“Ms. Reding’s forceful statement comes not a moment too soon,” Benjamin Ward from Human Rights Watch says in a statement. “The French government needs to heed the calls from Brussels and halt this abusive policy.”

The European Network Against Racism urged the commission to take legal action not only against France “but also against all other member states putting in place similar policies infringing minority rights.”

The French parliament also on Tuesday pressed ahead with another controversial policy – the total ban of burqas and other full-body robes worn by Muslim women in public, even by visitors who pass through France.

Offenders face a maximum fine of €150 and could be asked to attend courses on what the government calls “republican values.”

Individuals who encourage others to ignore the ban would face tougher penalties: up to one year in prison and a maximum fine of €30,000.

On Econotwist’s account:

Thank you, Ms. Reding! This kind of courage is rarely seen in any political environment today, and is exactly what the world needs at the moment. Wishing you the best of luck.

Related by the Econotwist:

Le Monde File Lawsuit Against President Sarkozy For Spying

Sarkozy Takes Austerity To New Hights

EU’s Administrative Costs Set To Rise 4,4% In 2011

People’s Confidence In The EU Drops To Record Low

The Political Impact Of The Great Recession

A European Revolution by December?

EU Member States Disagree On Debt Figures

EU Officials Fears Second Depression And War

Is World War III Approaching?

A Report To Make You Go “Hmmm…”

The Failure Of A Culture

A Lament for Europe

Global Economy On Fast Track To Disaster

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Le Monde File Lawsuit Against President Sarkozy For Spying

Le Monde has filed a lawsuit against President Nicolas Sarkozy‘s office for using the country’s counter-intelligence services to track the French newspaper’s sources. Sarkozy’s office is being accused of having hunted down the source who talked to the paper about alleged illegal party funding by the country’s richest woman, L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.

“The presidency emphasizes the fact that it has never given the slightest order to any service whatsoever.”

The Elysee

Je ne sais rien ...

In a front-page editorial published on Monday, the newspaper say they are suing the president’s administration for violation of the secrecy of sources, accusing Sarkozy of having ordered the national intelligence service to track down the source who talked to Le Monde about alleged illegal party funding by the country’s richest woman, L’Oreal heiress  Liliane Bettencourt.


Police sources are telling Le Monde that counter-espionage officers have looked at the telephone records of a justice ministry official to find out if he have spoken to reporters.

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The official has now been removed from his duties, accused of having released restricted information and sent on a minor legal mission in the French Guyana.

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France’s national police chief, Frederic Pechenard, reject the claims saying that the probe was legal and that the evidence was collected through a “legitimate investigation of the origin of leaks.”

Mr. Pechenard confirms that domestic intelligence services have been involved, as their mission is to “protect the security of institutions.”

However, Le Monde claims the spying is illegal because it violates a law protecting journalists’ sources – a law proposed by Mr. Sarkozy and enacted in January this year.

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Meanwhile, Mr. Sarkozy’s cabinet firmly rejected any connection to the case.

“The presidency emphasizes the fact that it has never given the slightest order to any service whatsoever,” the Elysee says in a statement.

Le Monde quotes intelligence sources who says Mr. Sarkozy was furious at the leak published mid-July and ordered an investigation by the Direction Centrale du Renseignement Interieur (DCRI).

DCRI is a umbrella division of the internal security organization, created two years ago in an attempt to de-politicize  the country’s security services.

Liliane Bettencourt

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The leak exposed labor minister Eric Woerth lobbying Ms. Bettencourt’s wealth manager for a job for his wife.

Five months later, the wealth manager was awarded the Legion d’honneur, a top French honor.

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This investigation is still ongoing and now looking into Mr.  Woerth’s alleged conflicts of interest, among other accusations is tax evasion and illegal party funding.

The scandal has dented Mr Woerth’s credibility as he prepared to present a key pension reform to parliament.

A fresh set of nationwide union strikes are due on 23 September against the reforms, while Mr Sarkozy’s popularity – close to a record low – has only slightly improved following his clampdown on Roman camps.

Leaked documents published last week by Le Monde describes in detail how the Romans should be targeted “with priority.”

Le Monde has been on a collision course with the center-right government of Mr. Sarkozy ever since the traditional newspaper was taken over this summer by a trio of left-leaning millionaires, the EUobserver writes.

"This is to balance the newspapers, Mr. Minister .. or for your personal use?"

Related by the Econotwist:

Media Freedom Threatened In Most European Countries

EU Hunts For Journalist’s Sources

European criminals and politicians taking “libel tourism” trips to UK

Estonia Put Pressure On Journalists

Estonian Newspapers Protesting With Blank Front Page

Warns Against Euro Zone “Elite”

EU Lobbyists Complains Over Unfair Treatment

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Manufacturer Direct espymall

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Anti Spam

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