Europol launches team dedicated to fighting crime on the dark web

Europol invites global stakeholders to discuss fighting crime on the dark web

Law enforcement officials from 28 countries have met at Europol headquarters to discuss a co-ordinated approach to fighting crime on the dark web.

The meeting in The Hague, the Netherlands, included stakeholders from the European Commission, Interpol and Eurojust alongside law enforcement experts from 28 countries around the world. They discussed how best countries can work together with Europol’s recently established dedicated dark web team, and pursue its aim of fighting crime on the dark web.

The so-called dark web is a digital space which facilitates the creation of marketplaces for illegal products and services, which are favoured by criminal organisations and individuals for the dark web’s structural advantages, including the lack of national borders and ability to buy and sell anonymously.

How will Europol tackle dark web criminals?

Europol’s approach to fighting crime on the dark web involves generating a co-ordinated approach between operational third parties and relevant partners and national law enforcement authorities.
At the meeting, the organisation established a dark web investigations team, which will share information, provide operational support and expertise in different crime areas, and develop tools and approaches to conducting dark web investigations.

The team is embedded within Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre, and benefits from its structural framework and the opportunity to exchange information with partners. In order to facilitate greater operational capabilities, Europol sought a commitment from across the global community.

What were the outcomes of the meeting?

Stakeholders in attendance welcomed progress made at the meeting towards expanding the capabilities of all actors to combat dark web criminal marketplaces. Ivaylo Spiridonov, of the Bulgarian General Directorate Combatting Organised Crime, outlined his ambitions for the meeting.

He said: “Today’s expert assembly will further enhance the law enforcement’s ability to find sustainable solutions and a common coordinated approach to respond to criminality on the dark web.”

Catherine De Bolle, executive director of Europol, added: “The event also marks the official launch of the new Europol Dark Web Team which will provide operational and technical support to law enforcement in thwarting criminality on the dark web in a coordinated and multidisciplinary manner.”

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