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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No101022004

Additional reading from TRACE partners: LIBE Committee’s Compromise Proposal on e-Evidence

According to Europol, the cyber element of cybercrime has penetrated nearly every area of criminal activity which allows criminal enterprises to not only extend their reach but conceal their activities.

This can take the form of ICT used throughout the entire spectrum of a terrorist attack: from enlisting and training the attacker to financing and executing the attack, making cyberterrorism a lot larger than just an attack to critical infrastructure. In this context, counter-terrorism operations and investigations in general require access to e-Evidence, essentially evidence in electronic form. e-Evidence encompasses any data that results from the output of an analogue or digital device that are generated or processed by, stored on, or transmitted by electronic device. 

In her article: The key elements of the LIBE Committee’s compromise proposal on e-evidence: a critical overview through a fundamental rights lens, Dr. Athina Sachoulidou, Assistant Professor of Criminal Law at the Faculty of Law of the NOVA University of Lisbon (NSL), examines the compromise proposal for a Regulation on cross-border access to electronic information in criminal matters. 

This proposal was voted in favour in December 2020 by the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE). It explores the origins of the e-evidence initiative by placing it in the context of the EU cooperation on counterterrorism and digitalisation strategy. 

On this basis, it presents the key elements of the compromise proposal with a focus on the envisaged function of the so-called European Production and Preservation Orders. To contribute to the ongoing debate on the suitability of that proposal compared to the one released by the Commission in April 2018, it argues that the LIBE Committee’s proposal fits better into a Union of Security and Freedom, but further improvements are needed to increase the protection of fundamental rights, given the intrusiveness of the suggested investigative measures.

Dr. Sachoulidou and the NSL’s contribution to the TRACE project consists of conducting an ethical, data protection and societal impact assessment on the use of TRACE technologies along with developing an ethical, legal, and societal impact guidance protocol for LEAs and partners.  

As organised crime networks operate across borders, use legal loopholes and advanced technology, it is notoriously difficult to detect, and trace hidden and illicit money flows. The TRACE project will introduce innovative data management solutions combined with AI analytics to enhance the capabilities of law enforcement agencies in tracing and recovering illicit money flows and generating court‐proof e‐evidence, assisting in the essential fight against cybercrime. 

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