Football hooligans are using the internet and mobile telephony to organise and stay one jump ahead of the law, according to a report published today by the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS).
NCIS, which is pressing for more power in its ability to detect, investigate, and prosecute high-tech crime, also claims that proposals in the planned European directive on data protection and privacy may have an adverse effect on its fight against cybercrime.
Its annual report confirms that the problem of football hooliganism is still very much alive, and that the use of technology means that petpetrators are more mobile and find it easier to locate rival gangs.
Such technologies also fuel criminal activities that many hooligans are involved in, such as drug trafficking and counterfeit goods trading, according to the police.
NCIS said last week that a planned EU directive to clear all records of transactions and data once a web session ends, would compromise its ability to investigate technology-based crime.
The organisation is pushing for legislation that would demand that all records of transactions be retained for seven years. Under current EU law, billing records can only be retained for a period of 30 days, then it has to be erased.
The joint proposal by the British Government and NCIS to retain billing records for law enforcement investigation also met with criticism from privacy watchdogs such as Statewatch.
The move could violate data protection principles and the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees a person's right to privacy, it is claimed.
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