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Our news and views

Individual articles written by SECURITY EUROPE

So what now for the European Commission’s e-Privacy Directive?

By CHRIS DALBYBRUSSELS – Now that reform of the European Commission’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been agreed by the European Parliament and Council, is the next big thing privacy? “Do we still need the EU’s e-Privacy Directive now that the reform package is over?” asks Paul De Hert, professor of law and criminology at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. He and others addressed their comments during a panel on the directive during the “Computers, Privacy and Data Protection” conference here on 27-29 January. The panel debated whether extending the directive’s scope would lead to more state surveillance and, if so, how to increase European citizen’s trust in the Digital Single Market. Panellist Rosa Barcelo, head of unit for privacy and data protection at DG CNECT – the Commission’s digital policy department – said the Commission, as a first phase, plans to launch...

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To reach “European Defence 2.0”, a real-step change is needed

More than 15 years ago defence was brought within the ambit of the European Union. Since then the world has changed dramatically. Today, the EU’s common security and defence policy (CSDP) needs an overhaul.It has to be adapted to the new security environment, characterised by complex threats and challenges of a military and non-military nature. Furthermore, the capacities underpinning CSDP can no longer be developed on the basis of the crisis management scenarios of the 1990s.In June 2016 the EU’s foreign and security policy chief, Federica Mogherini, will present a new “Global Foreign and Security Policy Strategy” to EU leaders. It is expected that the strategy will underline the importance of a strong CSDP and credible European military capabilities by making better use of the wider palette of instruments which the EU has at its disposal. The idea is that this approach should serve the EU in defending its security at home and support the Union in providing security abroad.But the Global Strategy is unlikely to offer how these strategic interests and needs should be translated into concrete objectives and more detailed capability requirements – let alone how to realise these in the future. The EU’s current Dutch Presidency is campaigning for a...

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Update on tenders and calls-for-proposals in EU security (15/02/2016)

H2020 Security Research calls
1. Invitation to tender N° EMSA/NEG/09/2016 for Needs assessment study of the AIS base stations necessary to extend the national AIS networks of Georgia and Ukraine to fully cover their territorial waters The objective of the contract is the development of a Needs assessment study in order to identify the AIS base stations (in terms of number, types and locations) that still need to be deployed in the national AIS networks (existing or to be established) of Georgia and Ukraine in order to achieve full coverage of their territorial waters. The assessment shall be done taking into consideration the subsequent connection of the national AIS networks to the MAREΣ server in the framework of a follow-up project.The estimated value excluding VAT is 48.000 EUR Deadline: 04 March 2016 Contact: European Maritime Safety Agency Email: NEG092016@emsa.europa.eu Call for documentation and application forms can be found here

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EU Security Research Projects Awarded (15/02/2016)

1. COMRADES - Collective Platform for Community Resilience and Social Innovation during Crises The rise of social media as an information channel during crisis has become key to community resilience and response. However, existing crisis awareness applications, such as Ushahidi, while vital for information gathering, often struggle to address the challenges of real-time social data analysis and aggregation of crisis micro-events, and filtering of unverified content and reporters.This project will build an intelligent collective resilience platform to help communities to reconnect, respond, and recover from crisis situations. COMRADES will achieve this through an interdisciplinary, socio-technical approach, which will draw on the latest advances in computational social science, social computing, real-time analytics, text and social media analysis, and Linked Open Data. The open source COMRADES platform will go beyond the now standard data collection, mapping, and manual analysis functions provided by the underpinning, widely used Ushahidi crisis mapping tool, to include new intelligent algorithms aimed at helping communities, citizens, and humanitarian services with analysing, verifying, monitoring, and responding to emergency events.Start date: 2016-01-01 End date: 2018-12-31 Total cost: EUR 1.999.021 EU contribution: EUR 1.999.021 Project coordinator: The Open University, United Kingdom

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German start-up aims to detect the devices that detect others

By BROOKS TIGNER LONDON – By far most of the “buzz” surrounding unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – more commonly known as drones – is their design and size, their cost, how they fly and what they do. Of special concern is the public perception that they are undermining privacy due to the range of detection technologies drones now can carry: visual, infrared, radar, thermal, microwave, etc., not to mention their ever-shrinking size as technologies are miniaturised.Indeed, most of the attention of the public as well as regulators and manufacturers is on the invasive aspects of drones. But what about the technology needed to detect the drones themselves? What does this entail?One entity, a commercial start-up in Germany, has been working on this and has come up with a technological solution to identify drones in real time based on sophisticated self-learning software. Established in late 2013 with US venture capital, the company known as...

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Security research project aims to enhance technology to rapidly detect, identify and respond to contaminants in the water supply

By CHRIS DALBY BRUSSELS – The protection of high profile, urban soft targets and urban critical infrastructures is one of the key security research topics that the European Commission wants small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to address as part of the “SME Instrument”. Under this instrument the Commission is willing to fund research projects with the goal of bringing new security technology from the prototype stage to market within two years.One of the security research projects the instrument supports is focused on protecting municipal and other water supply systems against contamination, whether inadvertent or intentional, by improving existing detection technologies and combining two into one that can be used by non-experts.The project, known as...

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EDA countries aim to expand their mobile detection capabilities

By BROOKS TIGNER BRUSSELS – Fears in the West of “CBRNE” attacks – chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosive – historically were confined to the Cold War period since, with the exception of conventional explosives, most such attacks could only be carried out by those with the closely-guarded technical knowledge and available military capabilities such the Soviet Union.That has now changed, of course, as military technologies have spilt into the commercial world and – more important – as the internet spreads technical knowledge about bomb-making techniques. The dissemination of nuclear know-how and, especially, the plague of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that has afflicted regions of the world for the past 20 years can be blamed in no small part on the internet. And now the challenge is shifting to the other CBRNE threat components: chemical, biological and radiological.Of the three, one is of acute concern to policymakers and the military, and has prompted the European Defence Agency to launch a new research project with dual-use application to help deal with the threat. The project aims to build a...

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Mayor shares what foils Islamist recruiters in Belgian town of Mechelen

By TERI SCHULTZ, with BROOKS TIGNERBRUSSELS – Mechelen mayor Bart Somers says the socio-economic conditions of his city, 20 km north of Brussels are virtually indistinguishable from those of next-door Vilvoorde. Yet, he notes, some 60 young people have left that Brussels suburb to join Islamist insurgents in Syria and Iraq — but not one has gone from Mechelen. With fears of returning foreign fighters higher than ever after Belgian Islamists were found to have masterminded the 13 Nov attacks in Paris, it’s worth asking Somers how he does it.The European Parliamentary group known as ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats) did just that on January 12 during a debate on the issue. Somers appeared as part of a wider panel examining the efforts to create an effective counter-narrative to battle the sophisticated media campaigns of the Islamic State.Insisting that a wide effort is needed to keep kids from becoming so isolated they see Islamist recruiters as an attractive alternative, Somers’ main theme was...

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EU’s aviation package sets the ball rolling toward drone market

By BROOKS TIGNERBRUSSELS – Though focused mainly on passenger aviation, the European Commission’s new aviation strategy, unveiled on 7 December, also sets the regulatory clock ticking for the creation of an important new market in Europe: the commercial drone industry.The stakes are high. According to Commission estimates, commercial drones will account for EUR 15 billion a year, or 10 percent of Europe’s aviation sector by 2025, though many observers consider that conservative. The strategy sets out a timetable for allowing commercial drones to fly along manned aircraft – a concept known as “air insertion” – tentatively as early as 2018, though that would be on a limited basis. The US government aims for the same goal, and the first region to get there will have enormous influence in setting the international air insertion standards.Between now and then, however, a raft of European legislative, regulatory and certification rules have to be elaborated and tested to enable the first drones to start operating.While only one of the 10 pillars of action in the new “Aviation Strategy for Europe” concerns drones, it sets out a huge array of tasks to be accomplished if Europe hope to make air insertion work in the next few years.Three broad lines of action must be implemented.First is...

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