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Our news and views

Individual articles written by SECURITY EUROPE

Update on tenders and calls-for-proposals in EU security (13/12/2017)

1. Service contract for Copernicus land monitoring services The purpose of this call for tenders is to establish a service contract with an economic operator who will produce Corine land cover for the 2018 reference year (CLC2018), the change layer between 2012 and 2018 and the revised CLC2012 products for Denmark, Latvia, Switzerland and the six Western Balkan countries. This …

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EU Security Research Projects Awarded (13/12/2017)

NEWLY AWARDED PROJECTS: S4D4C: Using science for/in diplomacy for addressing global challenges While the EU’s foreign policy landscape is now better set up to develop and exploit science diplomacy, the scientific and diplomatic communities often do not communicate with each other. Organising science diplomacy in a multi-level governance system is a challenge, as is dealing with interdependency. There is also …

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Upcoming European security conferences & exhibits (13/12/2017)

Here are some upcoming events related to European civil security we think readers should be aware of: 7th International Conference on Sensor Networks – SENSORNETS 2018 22-24 January 2018, Madeira, Portugal International Cybersecurity Forum 2018 23-24 January 2018, Lille, France 10th Conference on European Space Policy 23-24 January 2018, Brussels, Belgium CPDP-2018-The Internet of Bodies 24-26 January 2018, Brussels, Belgium …

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Creating virtual customs and security checks along Europe’s external borders carries the seed of good and bad developments

By BROOKS TIGNER , TALLINN, Estonia – As the global economy gains steam, debate in Europe is also firing up about the possibilities of creating virtual or “dematerialised” border control procedures to facilitate trade and the movement of travellers across the EU’s borders. Such dematerialisation would see the removal, as much as possible, of physical checks at a border. However, this would depend overwhelmingly on the data border authorities received in advance of the arrival of people and cargo. While the advantage for global trade of doing this are obvious, such a system would need to come up with answers to two serious problems, said experts at the EU’s annual Security Research Event 2017 here during 14-15 November. The first would have to...

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European Parliament moves to update Schengen border control

By PATRICK STEPHENSON, with BROOKS TIGNER, BRUSSELS – As territories of the so-called Islamic State continue to dwindle in Syria and Iraq, EU member-states are only too aware of the danger of violent extremists carrying out revenge attacks on European soil. Members of the Schengen visa-free region are particularly vulnerable, given that once terrorists penetrate the region’s external borders, they can travel with little hindrance to any point within the Schengen area. But terrorism is hardly the EU’s only concern. Migrants from Asia and Africa continue striving to reach Union shores. Although their numbers are greatly reduced from 2015, the EU’s border agency Frontex says that in September 2017 alone, there were nearly 14 000 detections of illegal border crossings on the four migratory routes into the EU. For the year to date, the agency counts some 156,000 illegal border crossings. New EU initiatives are in the pipeline to...

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The EU and member states are preparing – finally – to concretely tackle Europe’s longstanding fragmentation in its security market

By BROOKS TIGNER , TALLINN, Estonia – The EU’s 12-year old Security Research programme is at a turning point in its history. Not only is it reaching the end of its second seven-year cycle, but the billions it has spent on research projects since 2007 must now prove their worth. As Matthias Reute, head of DG-HOME, the European Commission’s justice and home affairs policy department that oversees the programme, told the EU’s annual security conference here on 14-15 November: “Citizens now have a right demand a return on this investment.” Indeed, the pressure has been building for the EU and its national governments to visibly exploit the technologies and capabilities developed by the programme’s huge diversity of security projects, most of which have sat on the shelf. The fault lies with both government and industry due to the highly fragmented nature of Europe’s civil security sector and its mosaic of national markets. Two big policy development are now under way to address the fragmentation via the demand side. The first will be a far stronger emphasis on...

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How to keep extremist content offline, when it keeps popping up?

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – The so-called Islamic State may be on the run in Syria and Iraq, but “lone-wolf” extremists acting in its name continue to exploit Europe’s cyber-space to radicalise others and to facilitate attacks. The most recent major attack, on 17 August, involved extremists in Barcelona who used vehicles to kill 16 innocents and injure 150 others. According to news reports, the attackers – mostly young men – were inspired in part by online terrorist propaganda. Deleting that propaganda has become a singular focus for Western law enforcement agencies and counter-terrorist specialists, in particular images and videos showing beheadings or bomb-making instructions. But like the proverbial game of Whack-a-Mole, content suppressed on one platform simply pops up on another. However a Dartmouth professor thinks he has the answer. It’s called...

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How to crack criminal codes without violating citizen privacy?

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – As cheap encryption methods have proliferated, European legal authorities often find themselves stymied in pursuing and dismantling criminal networks who use encrypted communications – code-speak that even nation-state computer assets have trouble breaking. In response, police want more authority and the capabilities to decode encrypted messages. But consumers using encrypted tools like WhatsApp value the privacy that encrypted communications ensure. A balance obviously must be struck between European consumer privacy rights and the need for European police to track down criminals who exploit encryption for illegal profit. Towards this end the...

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Will smart cities be secure or susceptible to disruption and attack?

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – As more and more urban European services go online, EU citizens have come to expect to file their taxes, change their addresses, check traffic patterns and be informed about security alerts via their city’s web portal. But does the response of cities to these changing demands present vulnerabilities that terrorists or criminals could exploit? This was one of the many critical questions explored at...

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In aviation growth vs security debate, MEPS go for green growth

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – According to the European Parliament, the European aeronautics sector will need 40,000 new planes during the next 20 years to accommodate its steady growth. Indeed, European air traffic continues to rise: according to SESAR, the EU-sponsored Single European Sky entity, EU airports will see 14.4 million flights and 1.4 billion passengers a year by 2035 – up 40 percent and 100 percent, respectively, from 2012. But as the terrorist attacks in Brussels’s Zaventem airport in March 2016 showed, it remains an open question how...

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