A cross-industry group of vendors, lobby groups and users are to work together to identify problems with existing practices and legislation on cyber-crime.
Parliamentary lobby group Eurim and the Institute for Public Policy Research, with support from vendors and users, plan to develop recommendations aimed at improving online security.
They hope that their findings will be used to shape legislation over the next two years.
The programme has support from vendors including Microsoft, LogicaCMG and Symantec, and will include a series of workshops with political, industry and interest groups.
The year-long study will look at issues such as how cyber-crime investigations are conducted under prevailing law, the current state of legislation, the responsibilities for reporting vulnerabilities, and the state of security training.
It will also look at how small firms can protect their businesses, individual consumer protection, and the balance of responsibility between government, industry and individuals in prevention and investigation.
"There have been specific debates but they aren't joined up and there is no big picture. These are issues we need to debate," said Philip Virgo, secretary general at Eurim.
"We are looking to set the agenda for the next couple of years. We are expecting that it could lead to legislative changes in a couple of years' time."
Microsoft chief security officer Stuart Okin has backed the initiative.
"Like others in the industry, Microsoft is concerned about protecting assets and ensuring that appropriate responsibilities are recognised and that processes and standards are put in place," he said.
And Detective Chief Superintendent Bob Hayes, chairman of the Internet Crime Forum Training Group, said: "Law enforcement and industry need to be able to work as a team.
"Key in making this happen is trust, and proven vehicles in developing this trust are joint training and common standards."
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