highlights need for central e-crime body

London, UK, October 2008: Research carried out by Infosecurity Europe has shown that 95 per cent of people would prefer to report online fraud directly to a dedicated e-crime agency, rather than having to go through APACS and/or the financial services firm with whom the fraud took place.

The research by the Infosecurity Europe show - which took in online responses from 359 visitors to the site - follows on from a debate in the House of Lords on e-crime and IT security issues.

In that debate, their Lordships noted it was anomalous for UK banks not being obliged - in law - to refund account holders who have been electronically defrauded.

Lord Broers, the Chairman of the House of Lords Committee on Science and Technology, said that the current situation is that account holders are only being refunded under a voluntary code, noting that that in today's environment, this is scarcely appropriate.

In addition, Lord Broers said, whilst customers currently report their e-frauds to the banks, it is not in the banks' interests to draw attention to the fact that their anti-fraud systems have failed.

Against this backdrop, their Lordships concluded there is a need for specific legislation - similar to the Bills of Exchange Act 1882 - which specified that if a bank honoured a forged cheque, the bank, not the customer upon whose account the cheque had been drawn, was liable.

Commenting on the results of the security debate and the research, the Earl of Erroll, a cross-bench member of the House of Lords, said that he was not surprised that 95 per cent of people would like to be able to report online fraud directly to a dedicated body.

"I think that people instinctively realise that you cannot expect people or organisations to report their own shortcomings reliably," he said, adding that the industry must always have independent bodies looking after our interests.

"I am delighted that money is finally being put into out into the new National Fraud Reporting Centre and is actually going to be given some teeth in the form of the new Police Central e-crime Unit," he added.

Lord Erroll's comments were echoed by Mike Barwise, Editor of, the online forum for the information security industry who noted Lord Broers' description ( "extraordinarily complacent" ) of the government's response to the August 2007 report on personal Internet security by the House Science and Technology Committee.

The House of Lords debate, he said, was fascinating, as it illustrated the degree of confidence that consumer must have in a system for it to flourish.

"Lord Sutherland of Houndwood's comments that Internet trading and purchase... depend on confidence and trust in the processes employed by the banks and in the priority that they give to personal Internet security, highlights this fact," he said.

"As events in the financial world in recent weeks have shown, without an underlying level of confidence in a given market, that market will collapse spectacularly. The danger with e-trading security is that, if confidence fails, the e-trading market will similarly slump," he added.

For more on Mike Barwise's comments: