New EU cybersecurity strategy is step forward

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) welcomes the proposed new package of EU cybersecurity measures but points to weaknesses in addressing Europe’s huge cyber skills gap. Critical entities also need streamlining, simplification and clearer application guidelines, in the EESC’s view.

Overall, the EESC hails the new EU cybersecurity strategy as a positive step towards protecting governments, people and businesses from cyber threats, and safeguarding economic growth – an area where the EU appears to be highly vulnerable, with the economic impact of cybercrime estimated at 0.84% of GDP, compared to 0.78% in North America.

Cybersecurity skills in dangerously short supply

However, the EESC stresses that there is a critical shortage of cybersecurity skills in Europe and that the strategy will not be sufficient to meet it. Demand for cybersecurity professionals has been growing in recent years and has been skyrocketing with the pandemic. As organisations quickly shifted their operations online and 40% of EU workers switched to remote working in 2020, an estimated 40% of EU users experienced security-related issues in 2020, with over 12% of businesses affected by cyberattacks. Continue reading “New EU cybersecurity strategy is step forward”

New rules and actions for excellence and trust in Artificial Intelligence

The Commission proposes today new rules and actions aiming to turn Europe into the global hub for trustworthy Artificial Intelligence (AI). The combination of the first-ever legal framework on AI and a new Coordinated Plan with Member States will guarantee the safety and fundamental rights of people and businesses, while strengthening AI uptake, investment and innovation across the EU. New rules on Machinery will complement this approach by adapting safety rules to increase users’ trust in the new, versatile generation of products.

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for the Digital Age, said: “On Artificial Intelligence, trust is a must, not a nice to have. With these landmark rules, the EU is spearheading the development of new global norms to make sure AI can be trusted. By setting the standards, we can pave the way to ethical technology worldwide and ensure that the EU remains competitive along the way. Future-proof and innovation-friendly, our rules will intervene where strictly needed: when the safety and fundamental rights of EU citizens are at stake.”

Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said: “AI is a means, not an end. It has been around for decades but has reached new capacities fueled by computing power. This offers immense potential in areas as diverse as health, transport, energy, agriculture, tourism or cyber security. It also presents a number of risks. Today’s proposals aim to strengthen Europe’s position as a global hub of excellence in AI from the lab to the market, ensure that AI in Europe respects our values and rules, and harness the potential of AI for industrial use.”

The new AI regulation will make sure that Europeans can trust what AI has to offer. Proportionate and flexible rules will address the specific risks posed by AI systems and set the highest standard worldwide. The Coordinated Plan outlines the necessary policy changes and investment at Member States level to strengthen Europe’s leading position in the development of human-centric, sustainable, secure, inclusive and trustworthy AI. Continue reading “New rules and actions for excellence and trust in Artificial Intelligence”

Guidance to ensure full data protection standards of apps fighting the pandemic

Today, the European Commission has published guidance on the development of new apps that support the fight against coronavirus in relation to data protection. The development of such apps and their take up by citizens can have a significant impact on the treatment of the virus and can play an important role in the strategy to lift containment measures, complementing other measures like increased testing capacities. It is important, however, to ensure that EU citizens can fully trust such innovative digital solutions and can embrace them without fear. The largest possible participation of EU citizens is necessary to exploit the full potential of tracing apps.

EU rules, notably the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the ePrivacy Directive, provide the strongest safeguards of trustworthiness (i.e. voluntary approach, data minimisation, time limitation) for such apps to operate widely and accurately. This guidance aims to offer the necessary framework to guarantee that citizens have sufficient protection of their personal data and limitation of intrusiveness while using such apps. The European Data Protection Board was consulted on the draft guidance. By committing to those standards, the full effectiveness and compliance of such tools can be ensured, even in times of crisis.

Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, said:”This is the first global crisis where we can deploy the full power of technology to offer efficient solutions and support the exit strategies from the pandemic. Trust of Europeans will be key to success of the tracing mobile apps. Respecting the EU data protection rules will help ensure that our privacy and fundamental rights will be upheld and that the European approach will be transparent and proportional.” Continue reading “Guidance to ensure full data protection standards of apps fighting the pandemic”