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Parliamentary questions
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26 June 2017
Answer given by Mr Avramopoulos on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-001101/2017

The Commission is aware that law enforcement authorities have raised certain concerns regarding the increasing use of Carrier-Grade Network Address Translation (CGN) technology. CGN enables a single Internet Protocol (IP) address to be shared by potentially thousands or hundreds of thousands of subscribers at the same time since there is not enough capacity under the current IP version 4 (IPv) to meet demand.

This makes it technically very difficult for an Internet service provider to identify an individual subscriber in response to legitimate requests from law enforcement authorities. Consequently, it is difficult to attribute crime and identify criminals using that particular IP address. Europol thus has legitimate concerns regarding CGN or other forms of address sharing, which may also have a negative impact on fraud detection or intrusion detection systems. They may also have other negative consequences, such as overall performance degradation of connections or even, in some cases, certain applications not working at all.

The expedited deployment of IP version 6 (IPv6) on a global scale and by all stakeholders would mitigate the problems and also offer new opportunities to service providers. In the short term, however, the use of IPv4 address-sharing is unavoidable, as there are still a significant number of users, services and applications that function only with IPv4.

At the same time, the Commission is not aware of any proposals to restrict the continued use of CGN, but rather of efforts being made to raise awareness about the issue, share best practices and find ways to facilitate the attribution of crime. It intends to raise the issue to RIPE (Réseaux IP Européens) via its representative who is chairing RIPE's Cooperation Working Group.

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