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Our news and views

Individual articles written by SECURITY EUROPE

EU’s PNR deadline is approaching but are national capitals ready?

By BROOKS TIGNER, BRUSSELS – The collection, dissemination and cross-border exchange of aviation passenger name record (PNR) data is crucial for law enforcement authorities to combat terrorism and organised crime across Europe. Rapidly approaching is the deadline for national governments to implement the EU’s PNR directive (2016/681). While it legally applies only to flights entering or departing from the EU’s territory, there are strong indications it will apply de facto to all intra-EU flights as well. That is an encouraging sign. Far less encouraging, however, is whether...

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New fund mulled among EU27 could energise EU’s security policy

By BROOKS TIGNER, BRUSSELS – National defence ministers across the EU are mulling whether to create a joint intergovernmental fund to support defence reform, military training and even the transfer of equipment and weaponry to failed or weak states. Nominally dubbed the European Peace Facility (EPF), the idea will be fleshed out by Federica Mogherini, the EU’s security and defence policy chief, who has been tasked to put a proposal on the table in a few months for the ministers’ review. The EPF’s launch would coincide with the EU’s next seven-year general budget, which starts in 2021. Creating the fund could catalyse the EU’s anaemic common security and defence policy (CSDP). But it also raises a host of basic questions about how viable the EPF could be and whether it might inadvertently erode the...

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Will self-learning software lead to hell or paradise?

By MAYA WHITNEY, with BROOKS TIGNER, BRUSSELS - Which will be the more critical applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and what do we do about their control? The answers are far from clear, as suggested by the diverse opinions on the subject during the Cybersec conference here on 27 February. The biggest AI issue is the matter of deep learning. If used ethically, it will save time and human energy across many facets of everyday life. However, if its deep learning is “poisoned”, then AI as a force for evil could become nearly unstoppable. For Paweł Lawecki, project leader at the Boston Consulting Group, there is an opportunity for AI to play a positive role for the military, for example, by protecting its information and detecting irregularities in critical algorithms. But Lawecki also sees...

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Can/should EU approaches to water safety and security be fused?

By BROOKS TIGNER, BRUSSELS – Policymakers and researchers in Europe are struggling with the issue of whether and how to yoke together municipal water safety and water security measures. Doing so raises many questions, however, from issues of efficiency and technical complementarity (or lack thereof) between the two sub-sectors to matters of cost. “There are a lot so safety and security issues that should be working together such as the use of networks of sensors upstream for monitoring safety, but also those that would detect security threats,” Philippe Quevauviller, security research project officer at DG-HOME, the European Commission’s home affairs policy department, told a gathering of water security researchers here on 8 March. “These two don’t naturally work together due to different responsibilities, different ministries, and so on, but we need to ensure that what is being done for safety can be done for security.” Another Commission source added: “It would be too easy to inject poison into a reservoir.” But would it? Water system operators...

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Deradicalisation through urban planning and city wide parenting

By Maya Whitney, BRUSSELS – Two questions are ever present in the quest to limit radicalisation: what creates a terrorist, and how to de-escalate a potential terrorist? While there is no foolproof means for identifying a terrorist in the making, there have been success stories for de-escalating potential terrorists. Similar to parenting, there are conflicting views about approaches to the issue. Some argue for a complete lockdown and jail time while others argue for a more “holistic” community-integration plan to de-radicalise converts to jihadism. But which is best? For David Ibsen, executive director of the Counter Extremism Project, counter-radicalisation in Europe demands...

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How far can EU & NATO’s ambitious cyber-cooperation goals go?

By BROOKS TIGNER, BRUSSELS – Cyber defence has grown from a side-show only a few years ago to a major – if not the – focus of attention for any organisation with critical information or infrastructure to protect. For international organisations with a security mandate such as NATO, there is the additional challenge of how and whether to engage in cyber-offence manoeuvres. The UK’s 12 March announcement that cyber-offence is now “game on” against Russia for its nerve gas tactics on British soil is only the latest sign of the central place cyber now occupies in the policy tool box. Indeed, NATO is quietly shedding its defence-only cyber stance to make room for cyber-offensive options if needed. But across town at the EU the official mantra rests insistently on a cyber-defensive basis. How the two will reconcile this strategic divergence is not obvious. Nor is it evident how they will attain the cyber cooperation objectives they’ve already agreed to pursue in common. Why? Because two substantial obstacles stand in their way: one short-term, the other long-term. The short-term problem is...

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Cyber security and defence: protection in air, land and cyberspace

BY MAYA WHITNEY, with BROOKS TIGNER, BRUSSELS – Cyber defence experts and officials are still scratching their heads over the best way to provide cyber security than benefits both civil and military networks. This was in full display during the CyberSec conference here on 27 February, which brought together members of the European Parliament (MEPs), cyber defence experts and NATO officials to debate the role of cyber security in defence. First and foremost: how do/should the EU and NATO work together to prepare against a cyber attack? Given today’s landscape of cyber and hybrid attacks, NATO now needs to...

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Will PESCO prompt a return to Europe’s traditional scepticism about defence initiatives? Keep your eye on the bouncing ball

In late 2017, when the efforts of Europe’s political leadership to develop new defence initiatives really went up a notch, some of us in the defence community felt the need to step in and cool the public’s heated assumption that a new European army is on the horizon. On the one hand, optimists used these initiatives to project an inaccurate image of European defence as moving up the federalisation ladder. On the other, sceptics warned that another attempt was underway to establish a supranational institution without a clear democratic mandate.

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Update on tenders and calls-for-proposals in EU security (15/03/2018)

1. Technical Assistance for Migration and international protection matters – promoting public awareness The main objective of this project is to develop a nation-wide awareness raising programme; foster mutual understanding, improve interaction, and encourage a proactive involvement of all local actors in the new migration management system; raise awareness among public administrators, municipal and local government officials, NGOs, and the …

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EU Security Research Projects Awarded (15/03/2018)

NEWLY AWARDED PROJECTS: ALBORA: Next-generation navigation technologies for autonomous vehicles One of the concepts that will drive the change in mobility is the connected autonomous vehicle (CAV). Massive investments on the field and the latest advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and sensors has moved relevant market uptake for autonomous driving from 2035 to 2020. CAVs are equipped with a huge …

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