Handbook on European law relating to cybercrime and fundamental rights

This project seeks to develop a handbook on European law related to cybercrime and fundamental rights as part of FRA's family of legal handbooks.
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In October 2017, the European Parliament requested FRA to develop a handbook with guidelines on supervisory and scrutiny controls for Member States to ensure compliance with fundamental rights safeguards while countering cybercrime.

The handbook aims to:

  • Highlight the key fundamental rights challenges of investigating cybercrime and securing electronic evidence following the standards provided by EU and Council of Europe’s rules and case law.
  • Map the obligations of Member States to protect individuals against crime and safeguard the fundamental rights of cybercrime victims.
  • Identify promising practices of effective investigative techniques on cybercrime and electronic evidence in line with fundamental rights and rule of law requirements.


The widespread use of the internet has led to an unprecedented level of digital communication between humans, but also to an exponential growth of increasingly sophisticated online threats to fundamental rights. Nearly 90% of 2017 Special Eurobarometer interviewees saw cybercrime as an important challenge to EU security. Fighting cybercrime is, therefore, one of the three pillars of the European Agenda on Security. Furthermore, nearly 80% of the respondents interviewed for the 2019 Eurobarometer on Internet Security believe there is an increasing risk of being a victim of cybercrime. Any type of crime may involve evidence on computer systems. Securing such evidence is increasingly complex in the context of cloud computing. Both the EU and the Council of Europe are updating their legal frameworks to meet the challenges of new technologies. 


The handbook will be part of the wider series of existing joint handbooks on European law and fundamental rights from FRA and the Council of Europe. It will compile and explain key aspects of the European legal framework at the Council of Europe and EU level together with selected extracts from relevant European and national  case law, such as key judgments and decisions delivered by the European Court of Human Rights, the EU’s Court of Justice and higher national courts. It will be produced by the Agency, together with the Council of Europe with the support of the European Court of Human Rights, the European Commission and several EU Agencies, such as Eurojust, Europol and ENISA.

The handbook should be available in 2023, once the updated rules on electronic evidence are adopted. FRA/CoE handbooks are published first in English then in other EU languages.

See also