The Cybercrime division is responsible for developing policy in relation to the criminal use made of the internet and information technology generally, and coordinating a range of different cyber initiatives at national and international level.

The functions of the Office for Internet Safety have been incorporated into the Cybercrime division and refocused to deal with issues of law enforcement, oversight of hotline.ie (the confidential reporting service for illegal content on the internet in Ireland) and the Garda Blocking Initiative, and coordination of EU funding proposals.

 

What is cybercrime?

Cybercrime comprises traditional offences (e.g. fraud, forgery and identity theft); content related offences (e.g. online distribution of child sexual abuse material, hate speech or incitement to commit acts of terrorism); and offences unique to computers and information systems (e.g. attacks against such systems, spread of malware, hacking to steal sensitive, personal or industry data and denial of service attacks to cause financial and/or reputational damage). Electronic devices are also used to sell and transfer all sorts of illicit goods and services, from illicit drugs to online child sexual abuse and exploitation materials to lists of stolen credit card numbers.

 

Directive 2011/93/EU

Article 25 of Directive 2011/93/EU on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography deals with ‘Measures against websites containing or disseminating child pornography’. The activities of Hotline.ie and the Garda blocking initiative together fulfil Article 25 in Ireland. Cybercrime oversees these activities. The remainder of the Directive has been transposed into Irish law.

Hotline.ie provides a secure, confidential service for the public to report suspected illegal content on the internet.

The aim of the Garda Blocking Initiative is to block access to child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on the internet in Ireland. An Garda Síochána (AGS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a company, under which the company agreed to block access to CSAM. AGS is actively engaging with further providers in order to extend this initiative.

 

Representation

Cybercrime provides representation for the Department at relevant national and international meetings in relation to cybercrime.

 

Action Plan for Online Safety 2018-2019

Online safety is being tackled in a coordinated manner by the Government’s first Action Plan for Online Safety, which was launched by the Taoiseach in July 2018. The Action Plan reflects a whole of Government approach and contains twenty-five actions under five main goals. The actions are assigned to six different Government Departments for implementation, including this Department.

This Department’s main actions under the Plan include:

Each actions is further broken down into constituent elements and the full plan can be viewed here:  Action Plan for Online Safety 2018-2019

The Action Plan is overseen by a Sponsors Group consisting of representatives of the six Departments involved in the Plan and by the National Advisory Council on Online Safety (NACOS). NACOS comprises key stakeholders and is chaired by the Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

A report by the Sponsors Group on progress made on the Action Plan during 2018 is available here:  Action Plan for Online Safety 2018 Progress Report

A report by the NACOS on progress made on the Action Plan during 2018 is available here:  National Advisory Council for Online Safety Progress Report 2019

A single online access point has been established as part of the gov.ie portal which provides pathways to information on online safety.

 

BeSafeOnline

A single online access point has been established as part of the gov.ie portal which provides pathways to information on online safety.

 

EU Safer Internet Ireland

Combatting illegal, harmful and predatory use of the internet requires responses at national, EU and international levels. Ireland is part of the EU Safer Internet initiative. As part of the initiative, Ireland provides awareness raising, helplines and a hotline. These services are provided by partner organisations, with Cybercrime providing coordination.

The project partners are:

The project partners are co-financed by the European Union’s Connecting Europe Facility.

 

Safer Internet Day

This international event takes place every February to promote safe and responsible use of the internet and mobile phone technologies, especially amongst children and young people.

Safer Internet Day is organised by the joint Insafe-INHOPE network with the support of the European Commission, with funding provided by the Connecting Europe Facility Programme.

The annual Irish national Safer Internet Day events are organised by Webwise.ie. For information on events and activities in Ireland to mark Safer Internet Day, please see www.saferinternetday.ie

For details of European and worldwide events, please see www.saferinternetday.org