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Thin blue line goes online! Russia to roll out elite cybercop force to counter digital wrongdoers

Thin blue line goes online! Russia to roll out elite cybercop force to counter digital wrongdoers
With so many already working from home, why shouldn’t police officers get in on the game? So asks Russia’s Interior Ministry, hinting that crime fighters will soon be taking down bandits from the safety of their computers.

Deputy Minister Igor Zubov told viewers of the YouTube channel for the Presidential Commissioner on Children’s Rights on Friday that the authorities are looking into setting up a specialist unit of keyboard warriors to tackle a whole range of new online offences.

“Overall crime rates are flat, or even falling,” he said, “but crimes in cyberspace have increased many times over. That’s for a number of reasons, both because of the digitalization of society and the fact that people in isolation are depending more on the internet.”

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Zubov was cagey about when the fiber-optic law enforcers would begin logging on, or how they might operate, but said it was now “not just a case of saying ‘one day’ anymore.”

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the issue of cybercrime at a meeting of the country’s Security Council. According to his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, the main topic of a meeting in November was “how to improve the effectiveness of the fight against computer security crimes.”

And it’s not just fraud and scammers that the digital detectives will have to contend with. Earlier this year, the Security Council’s Deputy Chairman, former President Dmitry Medvedev, told reporters that “online extremism is posing a serious threat. In just nine months of this year, a little over 650 extremist crimes have been documented, which is nearly a third higher than in the corresponding period last year.”

According to official statistics, cited by Medvedev, one in four crimes recorded in 2020 was tied to online activities, with close to half of those having been committed through the use of cell phones.

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