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.

Cybercrime also contributes, where appropriate, to international initiatives such as WePROTECT Global Alliance. Ireland's contribution to the WePROTECT Global Alliance National Reporting Survey for 2017/2018 can be viewed here.

 

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.

 

The Irish Safer Internet Centre (SIC)

The Irish Safer Internet Centre vision is a positive and inclusive digital world where children are safe and protected.
 
The Irish SIC is a partnership of four leading organisation with a mission to make the Internet a better place for children and young people, under the co-ordination of the Department of Justice, Cybercrime Division.
 
The consortium was appointed over a decade ago by the European Commission as the Safer Internet Centre in Ireland, and is one of 31 Safer Internet Centres in Europe and an integral part of the INSAFE-INHOPE network.
 

The Irish SIC partners:

 

What are Safer Internet Centres?

Safer Internet Centres are national hubs established in Member States across Europe and in Iceland and Norway, which provide a suite of complementary essential services in synergy with the four pillars of the European Strategy for a Better Internet for Children (BIK Strategy), namely:
  1. promoting positive online experience for children;
  2. awareness and empowerment (including digital/media literacy);
  3. creating a safe environment for children; and
  4. combatting online child sexual abuse and sexual exploitation.
 
To learn more, read the BIK Strategy Implementation Report.
 
Safer Internet Centres are co-financed by the European Union under the Connecting Europe Facility Safer Internet Programme and usually offer three kinds of services: a national awareness centre, a helpline and a hotline. 
Safer Internet Centres co-operate and exchange resources and best practices through the INSAFE-INHOPE network. For additional information, visit betterinternetforkids.eu which offers a repository of educational resources in all EU languages.  
 

Safer Internet Day

Safer Internet Day has become a landmark event in the online safety calendar, with a global reach. This annual event takes place every February to promote safe and responsible use of the Internet and digital 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 and funding provided under the Connecting Europe Facility Programme.
 
The annual Irish national Safer Internet Day events are organised and co-ordinated by Webwise, the Irish Internet Safety Awareness Centre. For more information, please visit www.saferinternetday.ie.