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Countermeasures  Title:
 United Kingdom



Currently the term ‘identity theft’ is not mentioned in any German statute. The existing criminal and civil laws do cover acts related to as ‘identity theft’. The topic and use of the term ‘identity theft’ is not discussed widely among German legal scholars. The concept of identity related crime is not discussed applying the focus on ‘identity’. It is for these reasons that no meaningful figures with regard to numbers of identity related crime and damage caused by these acts exist. Identity related crimes are often carried out either by means of using the Internet or with regards to debit and credit card data. For some of these kinds of crimes declining figures were reported in 2006 in comparison to the numbers known for 2005. In 2007 rising figures are reported regarding offences committed by means of the Internet (8%), phishing (20%) and information and communications technology related crime were reported (17%). To which extend these cases can be mapped to the FIDIS typology is not clear. It has to be taken into account that the key ‘offence committed by means of the Internet’ was added to the Criminal Statistics only in 2004 and that by 2006 still not all German states were able to use this key when reporting their figures. The rising number of Internet related crimes (2005: 118,036; 2006: 150,785; 2007: 180,000) could only reflect the increased ability of states to report crimes using this key. The overall figure of phishing cases in 2007 (4,200) is surprisingly low considering the big attention phishing receives in the media. An average damage of more than 4,000 EURO per case could explain this attention.

Legal and technical countermeasures have been passed. Legal countermeasures include the amendment of the German Penal Code to incorporate requirements laid down by the cybercrime convention. Security breach notification laws are being discussed and would significantly raise the ability of victims to react quickly and possibly prevent considerable damage. Passing such a law does currently not find the necessary support of the required majority of members of parliament and a distinct agenda for progress on this matter is not available. 

Technical countermeasures were developed in the online banking sector. However, measures known to be effective (like HBCI) are not used on a large scale. Instead, mainly the TAN and iTAN method is used which is known to be vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. 

Coming from an eGovernment approach, the German government currently explores the possibility of citizen portals ensuring binding authentication of citizens and service providers in the electronic world.  


Countermeasures  fidis-wp12-del12.7-identity-crime-in-Europe.sxw  United Kingdom
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