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Cybersecurity - a key component in the new Digital Era

Safer internet and effective measures against cybercrime is a multinational issue that needs to be addressed through various channels involving multiple partners, from business, government and civil society, working actively together.

By: EBR - Posted: Tuesday, June 15, 2010

As European citizens embrace innovative technologies, new devices and increased value added online services the scene is set for a highly dynamic and evolutionary digital future for Europe
As European citizens embrace innovative technologies, new devices and increased value added online services the scene is set for a highly dynamic and evolutionary digital future for Europe

Maximising the benefit from today’s revolutionary digital era also means having in place appropriate legislative and operational response to the rapidly evolving online threat environment. This is why a key message within EU’s recently released Digital Agenda (19 May 2010) calls for: building trust and security in the cyber-space. The completion of a European Digital Single market, with fully functional eHealth, eBanking and eGovernment systems requires secure digital networks, also depends on European citizens’ trust.

As European citizens embrace innovative technologies, new devices and increased value added online services the scene is set for a highly dynamic and evolutionary digital future for Europe. The question remains on how secure do Internet users feel? The continued evolution and sophistication of cybercrime is identified by both Commission and businesses as an important challenge for the completion of a fully functional and trusted digital single market and economy. In its Digital Agenda, the European Commission commits to tackle the issue by bringing forward a legislative proposal to combat cybercrime against information systems by the end of this year.

Moreover, the Commission plans to set up a European rapid response system to cyber-attacks, including a network of Computer Emergency Response Teams for the EU institutions (CERTs) and to propose a reinforced role for the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) by including a high-level Network and Information Security Policy (NIS). A public-private partnership with a view to protecting Europe’s critical information infrastructure is also understood to be proposed. As the majority of the critical national infrastructure is private sector owned, industry is being identified as a key partner in the fight against cyber-crime and security breaches.

The EU’s Digital Agenda supports the review of EU’s data protection regulatory framework with regards to ensuring a proper protection of individual’s personal data and privacy. Today’s increasing globalisation of data flows comes with both tremendous benefits but also increased risks for personal information. Data becomes fragile if not properly protected from the intrusion attempts of malicious malware, such as viruses, worms, botnets, spam, phishing etc. A data protection framework which would reflect the constantly evolving internet and technology environment offers new opportunities to enhance the individual’s trust and to consider the new technologies and applications that could provide sustainable solutions to data privacy and security challenges. In order to stimulate an innovative and revolutionary digital economy, balanced yet not burdensome solutions are required, including breach notification, increased accountability alongside decreased administrative burden to enable industry, governments and citizens alike to benefit from performing computing powers.

The technology industry sees cybercrime as a global concern which should be addressed hand in hand by both the EU institutions and businesses. Raising awareness and educating the end user is key element to preventing potential online attacks and identity thefts. Most recently, issues related to ensuring children and minors’ protection against offensive and harmful online content raised the necessity for better understanding of the cyberspace. Here again, the role of the industry is crucial to facilitating education and awareness campaigns, which would inform the users of the opportunities and benefits the online world brings but also the importance of staying safe online. Technology sector representatives, such as TechAmerica Europe are the best positioned to identify the emerging cybercrime patterns and to provide the tools to fight against it. The high-tech companies created a digital era that stood the test of time and continuously keeps reinventing itself. EU’s Digital Agenda offers a myriad of benefits destined to the European citizens and a great opportunity for direct involvement of industry in shaping Europe’s Digital future.

*  by Ivelina Todorova, Manager EU Security and Privacy policy with TechAmerica Europe

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