People worried about the loss of information on 25 million child benefit recipients can now sign an online petition on the Prime Minister's website to call for the formation of a police central e-crime unit.
The petition says, "The consequences of, and reactions to, the loss of records by HM Revenue and Customs, make the creation of a well-resourced operation to address computer-assisted crime a matter of great urgency."
The Metropolitan Police and Association of Chief Police Officers proposed a central e-crime unit to replace the National High-tech Crime Unit two years ago. In August the House of Lords select committee on technology called for the government to provide the money, an estimated £4m, "without delay". The government's response dismissed the call, saying a new fraud unit would be enough.
Neil Stinchcombe, author of the petition, and publicity manager for the Infosecurity Europe exhibition, said there is now no central point to which cyber-crime victims can report.
He said he will seek endorsement of the petition from information industry bodies such as the British Computer Society, the Information System Security Professionals, the Internet Service Providers' Association, the Jericho Forum, and Get Safe Online, among others.
He also planned to ask organised business bodies such as the Institute of Directors, the Confederation of British Industry, the BERR (the former DTI) and the Federation of Small Business to endorse the petition.