LIVE_FOR, a European project for judicial cooperation on cybercrime

The UPC’s Network Security Emergency Coordination Unit (esCERT-UPC) will become an information centre for police, prosecutors and judges in Western Europe, advising them on the application of European Investigation Orders in the fight against cross-border cybercrime and cyberterrorism. The initiative is part of the European LIVE_FOR project, funded by the European Union’s Directorate-General for Justice, which wants to facilitate the application of a new European directive on judicial cooperation in tackling crimes of this kind.

Jan 29, 2018

The implementation in all European Union (EU) countries of Directive 2014/41/EU is considered a milestone for judicial cooperation in criminal matters. The Directive (also referred to as the EIO Directive) aims to simplify the procedures that judicial authorities must follow when they request evidence from another EU member state. The objective is to set up a comprehensive system for obtaining evidence in cases with a cross-border dimension, based on an instrument called the European Investigation Order (EIO), which enables prosecutors and judges in member states to request evidence related to an investigation directly from their European counterparts, and allows for the incorporation of such evidence in criminal proceedings under way.

The problem now is that not all police units in European countries apply the same standards when gathering and exchanging evidence of a crime. This lack of consistency makes it difficult for judges in certain countries (with more rigorous standards) to accept evidence gathered by authorities in another country as valid.

The LIVE_FOR (Criminal Justice Access to Digital Evidences in the Cloud – LIVE_FORensics), project was launched a year ago to make it easier for European judicial authorities to obtain evidence related to cases of cybercrime and cyberterrorism committed in different member states. One of the project partners is esCERT of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), and the coordinators at the UPC are Professor Josep Casanovas, a researcher in the Department of Statistics and Operations Research and director of inLab at the Barcelona School of Informatics (FIB), and Manel Medina, a researcher in the Department of Computer Architecture and the head of esCERT.

LIVE_FOR is a two-year project, funded by the EU’s Directorate-General for Justice, which seeks to clarify the existing situation in this area and identify differences in legislation between countries that could affect implementation of the Directive. The LIVE_FOR project, launched on 1 November 2016, is led at the European level by the Jozef Stefan Institute (Slovenia). Along with the UPC, the other partners are Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), Albstadt-Sigmaringen University (Germany), Masaryk University (Czech Republic) and the Autonomous University of Madrid.

Good practices in computer forensics
Investigation of cybercrime and cyberterrorism cases often involves obtaining digital evidence in various environments, which are not always under the jurisdiction of the same country. The project therefore aims to create a catalogue of good practices in computer forensics in order to pave the way for implementation of the European directive and help judicial authorities in European countries better understand new technologies for conducting digital investigations and storing evidence in the cloud. Campaigns will also be carried out to raise awareness of the new European tool for gathering cross-border digital evidence among prosecutors and investigators.

As part of the project, courses will be offered to train European police forces, judges and prosecutors on these requirements and good practices. They will also receive instruction on how to receive and execute orders, and how to use digital forensic methods that are widely accepted in all member states. esCERT-UPC and the Czech Cybercrime Centre of Excellence (C4e) of Masaryk University (Czech Republic) will serve as information centres to disseminate these good practices in Europe. They will also assist judicial authorities by responding to any questions and providing specific information on how to capture, store and transmit digital evidence in compliance with European Investigation Orders. esCERT-UPC will be the reference centre for countries in Western Europe, and C4e will play the same role for Central and Eastern Europe.

The main target groups for these activities are prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, investigators, and civil organisations involved in pursuing cybercrime and cyberterrorism. Other potential beneficiaries include business entities and higher education institutions that offer programmes in information security, combating cybercrime, and computer forensics.
 

About esCERT-UPC

esCERT-UPC was the first Spanish centre dedicated to offering advisory services and preventing and resolving security incidents in telematic environments. Since June 2013, it has been part of the Barcelona School of Informatics’ inLab—a member of the Innovation and Technology Centre – CIT UPC—in the area of specialisation “Security in ICT Infrastructure”, where it contributes all of its knowledge and experience in the field of computer security and management of incidents in telematic networks.