European Police Congress Deliberates on Making the Darknet Inaccessible to its States
The European Union recently held discussions through the European Police Congress regarding security matters, migration, and integration. The conference began on February 19th in Berlin with the first focus being on eliminating criminal activities facilitated online by the darknet.
This is the largest conference held by states of the European Union regarding internal security. It comprises around 1,500 specialists from over 20 states, police representatives, border police, secret service, industry managers, parliament, and other government officials. It was arranged by Behörden Spiegel, the main public authority newspaper in Germany, in conjunction with other European officials.
During this 22nd Congress meeting, it was agreed that dark web activities should be banned in member states of the European Union. This action, they say, will help prevent online related criminal offenses which have been rising alarmingly since the advent of the dark web. These include drug trafficking, human trafficking, human smuggling, smuggling of weapons, identity theft, credit and debit card theft, cyber-attacks, and murders. Some of these illicit businesses have become so big that they form cartels or massively organized drug rings.
It was agreed in the Congress that authorities which safeguard security in Europe would have to work harder to stop crime and its effects.
Günter Krings, the Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, demanded during the opening ceremony that the use of the Tor browser be forbidden in the union. This is because it forms a platform for illegal activities and makes it harder for law enforcement to track offenders. He added that the disadvantages of the darknet are much more than the advantages; therefore, Tor and the dark web should be made illegal and inaccessible in Europe. Also, most of those who access the dark web are actual or potential criminals who need to be stopped before they harm anyone.
Krings stressed that the increasing number of darknet related criminals is of great concern, and the legal system should take the matter more seriously. The Christian Democratic Union politician also demanded that another IT law be executed starting later this year to help authorities get hold of dark web criminals. He stated that it could be used as another method to bring offenders and their partners to justice instead of going through the lengthy and tiring process of pressuring criminals to name their accomplices.
Krings openly criticized the laws of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) which governs the Ministry of Justice saying that they hinder and abstract proper law enforcement in cases pertaining to the dark web. He stated that if they were effective, they would have already determined the fate of German jihadists who wanted to destroy the Syrians and Kurds.
He, however, commended authorities on the development of a second generation assessment tool known as the RADAR-iTE which helps federal authorities recognize Salafists extremists. The tool was developed by German police using forensic technology obtained from the University of Konstanz.
Wolfgang Sobotka, the President of the Austrian National Council also made a statement during the opening ceremony. He praised Chinese law enforcement for being strict when it comes to evaluating and analysing personal data in order to identify lawbreakers.
After the topic on darknet website, the main theme of discussion became migration with the title, Migration – Integration – Security. Most panels in the conference tried to find a solution to the chaotic situation at the state borders due to the increasing number of people crossing borders illegally.
The dark web has been used to smuggle people across state borders. Illegal migrants pay a fee in the form of digital currencies, and they are matched with a particular smuggler depending on the exact place they would like to go. Some of these smugglers kidnap the immigrants and rape them repeatedly or sell them into slavery.
It was suggested that IT personnel should be quickly deployed so that they inform authorities when there is migration and if it is legitimate or not. This would greatly help in reducing the number of criminal activities conducted by migrants, and it would also prevent the overstretching of a state’s budget to accommodate non-citizens.
European border protection experts, however, had different ideas as to how the problem could be solved. A final decision is yet to be made on the matter.
According to Giovanni Leopoldi from Italy, the addition of 10,000 separate border guards would help curb illegal migration. His idea was opposed by Vice President of the Federal Police, Jürgen Schubert who thought that such an action was completely unrealistic. Instead, he claimed that the current moderate structure was well trained and equipped for the job.
Deliberations went on until February 20th, and despite some of the differences in views of the various congress members, it was clear that the aim was to get rid of everything that pulls down the economy.