Legal measures to tackle cybercrime must be tackled on an international level as the reach of the Internet extends beyond national boundaries, said Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs, António Vitorino. The Commissioner told delegates at a conference on 'The Internet and the changing face of hate', that the global threat from computer-related crime had been recognised by many international bodies, as witnessed in the run-up to Euro 2000 when websites and e-mail were allegedly used by hooligans to mobilise forces and encourage violent action. 'The fight against racism and xenophobia - these profound forms of rejecting diversity - is a major concern of the international community and a challenge for our society,' he said. Due to the transnational nature of the Internet, it is an area where Member States must work together. 'Legal action against harmful or illegal activities is first and foremost a clear responsibility of each State,' said Mr Vitorino. 'However because of the nature of the Internet, there are serious limits to what any country can achieve on its own. 'The Internet is an international phenomenon in every sense of the word and any effective response will hinge on levels of international cooperation.' Action on an international level is already underway, said the Commissioner. In 1997, the G8 nations adopted a 10-point action plan to combat high-tech crime, to which the Commission is contributing. The European Council and Parliament adopted in 1999 an action plan for safer use of the Internet by combating illegal or harmful content on global networks. It will provide a financial framework for the various EU initiatives on how to deal with undesirable content on the Internet. A financial plan is already in place until the year 2002, managed by the European Commission. Mr Vitorino promised the Commission will this year lay out ideas for a comprehensive policy to combat child pornography, racism and xenophobia on the Internet through mutual recognition principles, training law enforcement staff, forging links with Internet service providers and telecommunication operators, and using forensic science to search computers and analyse data. 'Close cooperation between law enforcement agencies, Internet service providers, telecommunications operators and data protection authorities is an indispensable element to fight effectively computer-related crime,' he said. 'There are excellent examples of cooperation at national level, but there is certainly room for improved cooperation at European level to find balanced solutions to the complex policy and technical issues in this area.'