The BBC reports that a new five year action plan has been made to help European police forces tackle cyber crime. The plan should help police forces across Europe track down and prosecute criminals; the plan is focused mainly on reducing child pornography, and bringing down spam, viruses, and other malicious content.
Europol, the coordinators of the new scheme, received 300,000 euro to create the system that will allow police forces from within Europe to share crime reports, share data, as well as allowing them to issue alerts on the latest threats. Police will also be able to participate in "remote searches", which will allow them to virtually search through suspect computers, which, if used as described, would make it significantly easier to prosecute cyber-criminals.
In addition to these proposals, under the new scheme, "virtual patrols" would be used across some areas of the Internet, presumably chat rooms, although it would be expected that forums and social networks would be included too.
Controls will be put in place to ensure data protection laws are not breached, although there will still be concerns about sharing individual's data over several countries, particularly if the suspect in question later proves to be innocent. The plans will gradually be put into use over a five year period, although it is not clear when this will begin.