NCA director general Keith Bristow, the UK's top law enforcement officer, is urging Britons to accept a greater loss of ‘digital freedoms' in return for greater safety from serious criminals and terrorists.
In a Guardian interview published on Tuesday, Bristow warned that the biggest threats to public safety are migrating to the internet and that crime fighters are struggling to keep up.
In response, he said, the NCA wants new powers to monitor data about emails and phone calls - but only if the public consent.
His views on ‘consent' were echoed by Jamie Saunders, director of the NCA's National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU), who spoke exclusively to SCMagazineUK.com.
Saunders told us that, with criminals using the dark web and Tor to evade justice, law enforcement must be given a helping hand.
“We need to maximise our ability to pursue them. It's a matter of having the powers and the capabilities that we need to be able to do that,” he told SC.
“We will use the tools the government has given us to the best of our ability to combat crime. When it comes to judgements about the extent of what those powers should be, that is what the democratic process is about.”
Meanwhile, in related news, security firm Kaspersky has partnered with the international law enforcement agency, Interpol, to issue a new warning on the mobile cyber-crime threat.
Based on data from five million Android users in 200 countries, their ‘Mobile Cyber Threats' report says attacks on these users rose nearly tenfold in the space of 10 months, from 35,000 in August 2013 to 242,000 in March 2014.
Over a 12-month period, Kaspersky found more than a million mobile users were infected by a total of around 3.4 million pieces of malware.
Around 60 percent of this malware was designed to steal money. It comprised mainly SMS-sending Trojans but the number of banking Trojans increased 14-fold over 12 months, from a few hundred to more than 5,000. These were mainly samples of Faketoken, Svpeng and Marcher.