Course Report: Cybercrime - Child Abuse in Cyberspace

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15 November 2012

‘Cybercrime/Child Abuse in Cyberspace’ was the subject of a CEPOL course held in St Julian’s, Malta, between the 5th and 9th November 2012. The aim of the course was to provide the participants with an understanding of the underlying issues and concepts related to online child abuse and to better understand police cooperation possibilities and the international legal framework related to the subject.

Nineteen participants from fifteen Member States and one participant from a Candidate Country participated in this course. The participants of this course hailed from Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom and Croatia.

Course Manager Timothy Zammit (Inspector at the Malta Police Cybercrime Unit) encouraged participants to benefit from this course in sharing knowledge and stressed the importance and function of police collaboration in the fight against child abuse in cyberspace.

Given that the background and technical competencies of the course participants was different, the course curriculum attempted to strike a balance between theoretical and practical sessions in order to provide all participants with an overall perspective of the issue being discussed.

The course started off with a session titled ‘Defining the problem’ delivered by Mr. Paul Caruana (Assistant Lecturer, University of Malta). The second part of the first day was dedicated to provide an overview of the collaboration with the local internet hotline as well as the establishment of a Child Abuse Internet Filter for internet users in Malta with the co-operation of local Internet Service Providers. These sessions were delivered by Ms. Deborah Vassallo (Hotline Administrator, Agenzija Appogg); Mr Keith Gauci (Webcraft) and members of the Malta Police Cybercrime Unit.

On the remaining days, sessions about the handling of digital evidence, operational aspects and issues emanating from the misuse of Social Networks were delivered by members of the Malta Police Cybercrime Unit. The participants were also provided with an overview of legislation related to child abuse by Dr. Donatella Frendo Dimech (Deputy Attorney General for Malta) and introduced to the possibilities of Police Cooperation through the already existing channels by representatives from the Malta Police International Relations Unit. A session about Academia's role in law enforcement, during which examples of projects undertaken by students at the University of Malta to facilitate the work carried out by the Malta Cyber Crime Unit, was delivered by Dr. Alexiei Dingli (Senior Lecturer, University of Malta).

Throughout the week, technical sessions about 'Peer-to-Peer Tools' as well as 'Internet Relay Chat and Darknet Investigations' were delivered by Mr Frank Kolenbrander (Computer Crime Specialist, School of Criminal Investigation in the Netherlands) and Mr. Michael Lund (Investigator within the National Hi-Tech Crime Centre of the Danish National Police) respectively.

This course was organised by Malta with the assistance of Denmark and the Netherlands. Dr Mario Spiteri (Superintendent in charge of CEPOL Malta Section) thanked all institutions who helped in the organisation of this course and said that he intended to continue on the existing cooperation with CEPOL in the years to come.


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