An evaluation report published last month detailed that the Swedish, Austrian and German police are planning to raise funds from a European Union research initiative called Horizon 2020. According to the official website of the initiative, Horizon 2020 is the biggest research and innovation program within the European Union. The project currently has 80 billion euros of funding available for the period of 2014 to 2020. In addition to the 80 billion euros, private investments are boosting Horizon 2020’s budget.
The funds from the Swedish project will be secured from a subsection of the Horizon 2020 called Secure Societies.
“This Challenge is about undertaking the research and innovation activities needed to protect our citizens, society and economy as well as our infrastructures and services, our prosperity, political stability and well-being,” the EU introduces the project on the official website.
Secure Societies ensures the funding of various themed projects, including crisis management tools, forensic tools to fight crime and terrorism, border protection and cybersecurity. According to the EU, since cybercrime presents a big threat to the member countries, it is important to support projects that will either help law enforcement track down cybercriminals more efficiently or improve the cybersecurity of the region.
“At present, the Swedish Police are participating in a consortium with the [Federal Police Force] in Austria and its counterpart in Germany to prepare a bid for Secure Societies on virtual currencies and the Darknet,” a section of the report stated the research activities of the Swedish, German and Austrian national police.
The report only revealed the activities of the three country’s law enforcement authorities, however, failed to mention the fundings they will secure for the project. According to CoinDesk, the Internal Security Fund (ISF) will be used to fund the research project led by Sweden. The ISF has 3.8 billion euros of funding available within the same seven year period as Horizon 2020 operates. According to the European Union, the ISF will focus on two specific objectives. One is the fight against crime, which includes “combating cross-border, serious and organized crime including terrorism, and reinforcing coordination and cooperation between law enforcement authorities and other national authorities of EU States.” The other part of the funds will be spent on projects related to the management of security-related risks and crisis within the EU.
The ISF’s site also shows the amount of fundings per country. Under the “Internal Security Fund – Police”, Sweden has a basic allocation of 21 million euros, Germany has 79.5 million euros while Austria secures 12 million of euros in funding. Since this is a basic allocation of a major part of the research initiative, this does not mean that the countries will use all of the funds for their new cybercrime projects, which involves cryptocurrencies.