19 Jun 2013
The current debate here is over ways that businesses and consumers can best protect themselves against cyber-attacks.
Given the current raging debate on the recently revealed US PRISM intelligence gathering programme, data protection and privacy concerns by EU citizens are understandably at an all-time high.
Earlier this year a proposed directive on network and information security was adopted by the Commission, stressing the need for an overarching cyber security strategy.
Olivier Burgersdijk of the European Cybercrime Centre atf Europol, said the proposal was effective.
Olivier Burgersdijk, Europol
It´s reasonably forward looking. Actually our businesses, our infrastructure is not yet overloaded by attacks and can still function relatively well, but that is for the time being.
We of course don't know what will happen in future and being ahead of the game is an important element for being successful.
European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding came to Parliament to say that Prism had jump-started better European European data protection rules.
Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner
It will help us very much to get our data protection rules in place. Because the reform is now under debate since 18 months. The PRISM programme and the way it was handled was for the Europeans a wake-up call. That means that we have very quickly to put the new rules in Europe in place so that our citizens are safe and that our companies are safe.
In the past few years the number of cyber attacks on businesses and private individuals has skyrocketed. An attack on key Estonian targets in 2007 left the country in a state of near paralysis.
EU institutions have also come under attack and data stolen from millions of users. These attacks have called into question the efficiency of digital infrastructure, yet not even half of EU member states have a national cyber strategy.
Olivier Burgersdijk, Europol
Now what does it take to commit a crime via the internet, using the internet? Not that much actually the tools are available online and you don´t need to be an expert to commit those crimes.
From the side of businesses and the side of government we have to make sure we take the appropriate measures.
We need agility to make sure that whenever something happens all these things will be unpredicted in any event we need to make sure that the right information comes at the right spot.
Link to Schwab
Andreas Schwab, EPP Group spokesperson on consumer protection, said the uneven levels of resilience among member states on cyber-security and a fragmented digital market were apparent. At the same time he said the US intelligence-gathering programme PRISM has created an atmosphere of fear among Europeans over possible misuse of their personal data.
Andreas Schwab, MEP EPP Group
From my point of view I have the impression that nobody puts in doubt the fact that you need intelligence on terrorist attacks and on cyber criminality. But what we fear is happening there is in a certain way a spying approach, what we don't accept as Europeans and what we have no legal basis for in Europe and that will need to be assessed.
With so much at stake the EU clearly needs a more holistic defense against cybercrime. Striking the right balance between a high degree of security and keeping the associated high costs to businesses and society at large within reason will be a huge challenge.
Find out more about the activities of Parliament`s largest political force by going to eppgroup.eu. Thanks for looking in and see you again soon.
Parliament deals with fears over cybersecurity
At hearings on network and information security the EPP Group parliamentary rapporteur on the internal market and consumer protection Andreas Schwab and European Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding both expressed their growing concern over cyber-security and the US PRISM spying programme which is also apparently targeting average European citizens personal data.
This media asset is free for editorial broadcast, print, online and radio use. It is restricted for use for other purposes.