ZDNet in the UK is reporting an interesting consequence of the spreading global recession. It seems that many British technology companies that have historically contributed to the Police Central E-crime Unit (PCeU) are instead offering staff in lieu of cash. For those of you that don't follow global economic trends closely, it would appear that the UK is in for an even worse time in this recession than the American (and most other) economies. While the credit crisis may have begun in the U.S., it's hitting the UK much harder due to the relatively higher levels of consumer debt that drove much of the economic growth in the last few years.
Consequently, many tech firms have decided they are better off loaning people to the PCeU rather than writing checks. Ironically, this is probably a better approach to fighting cybercrime than simply handing the authorities money. As both the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. point out in their excellent report on securing cyberspace and the Obama administration stated in their first policy statement on homeland security, the only way to successfully fight cybercrime is through extensive collaboration between the public and private sectors.
Given the state of the global economy, I think we can expect the incidence of cybercrime to increase as more technically savvy (and ethically challenged) techies find themselves out of work. Fortunately, the same economic forces that will drive more people to perpetrate phishing, identity theft, and other types of cyberfraud schemes also appear to be motivating exactly the kind of collaboration between the public and private sectors that is so hard to achieve when times are good.