Out-Law News 1 min. read

EU laws on fraud could be updated to reflect new payment technologies

Rules requiring EU countries to tackle fraud and counterfeiting through non-cash means of payment could be updated to reflect new payment technologies, the European Commission has said.

The Commission said it intends to review EU legislation from 2001 which prohibits fraud and counterfeiting activities relevant to non-cash payment instruments. Those rules only apply to physical non-cash payment methods, such as credit cards and cheques. It said it could bring forward proposals to update those rules in 2016 to "take account of newer forms of crime and counterfeiting in financial instruments".

"Citizens are concerned about issues like payment fraud," the Commission said. "However, the 2001 framework decision combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payments no longer reflects today’s realities and new challenges such as virtual currencies and mobile payment. The Commission will assess the level of implementation of the current legislation, consult relevant stakeholders and assess the need for further measures."

The Commission's comments were made as it published a new strategy on security (21-page / 132KB PDF), which includes plans to tackle cyber crime.

In its communication, the Commission said it is "of critical importance" that public authorities and businesses work together to "fight online crime".

"The response to cybercrime (e.g. phishing) must involve the entire chain: from Europol's European Cybercrime Centre, Computer Emergency Response teams in the member states concerned by the attack, to internet service providers that can warn end-users and provide technical protection," the Commission said. "In short, cybercrime demands a new approach to law enforcement in the digital age."

Finalising planned reforms to the EU's data protection laws, completing work on the planned Network and Information Security Directive, and establishing new laws on PNR (passenger name records) should be a priority for EU law makers under the new strategy.

"Analysis of PNR information provided at the time of booking and check-in helps to identify high risk travellers previously unknown to law enforcement authorities. PNR data has proven necessary to identify high risk travellers in the context of combatting terrorism, drugs trafficking, trafficking in human beings, child sexual exploitation and other serious crimes. Once adopted, the PNR Directive will ensure better cooperation between national systems and reduce security gaps between member states."

The Commission said that issues relating to the admissibility of evidence of criminal activity gathered online need to be addressed also.

"Eurojust should continue to facilitate the exchange of best practice and identify the challenges regarding the collection and use of e-evidence in investigations and prosecutions of internet-facilitated crimes, with the necessary safeguards," it said. "The Commission will work to ensure that relevant modern means of communication (such as voice-over internet protocol) can be covered by judicial investigation, prosecution and mutual legal assistance. Different standards on the admissibility of evidence must not constitute an impediment to the fight against terrorism and organised crime."

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