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Ottawa’s lagging on cybercrime puts Canadians at risk, RCMP chief says

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson waits to testify at a House of Commons committee in Ottawa on Feb. 26, 2013.


The RCMP commissioner has quietly warned Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney the government must do more to fight cybercrime – a growing threat the top Mountie says is undermining the economy and putting Canadians at risk.

In a letter to the minister, commissioner Bob Paulson notes one pillar of the Conservative government's cybersecurity strategy focuses on both providing the public with information to protect themselves online and strengthening the ability of law-enforcement agencies to fight cybercrime.

He argues the government needs to focus more on these aspects of the strategy.

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The letter, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, was prepared for Blaney as part of an extensive briefing package for the new minister, appointed in July.

Accompanying briefing notes say while efforts to secure the online world have progressed under a federal strategy announced in 2010, "a gap remains" concerning law enforcement's ability to effectively tackle cybercrime, including child exploitation, cyberbullying, Internet-based mass marketing fraud and identity theft.

The notes say "limited funding" – 3 per cent of the federal cybersecurity budget – has been earmarked to address digital crime.

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