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European Commission - Fact Sheet: State of the Union 2017: The Commission scales up its response to cyber-attacks

Brussels, 19 September 2017

Questions and answers

Why does the EU need to take action on cybersecurity?

Since 2013, the technological and security landscape in the European Union has changed at a very fast pace. Digital technologies are now an integral part of our daily life and the backbone of our economy. The Internet of Things revolution has become a reality, with tens of billions of devices expected to be connected to the Internet by 2020. At the same time the number and diversity of cyber threats is continuously growing. With the recent ransomware attacks, a dramatic rise in cyber-criminal activity, state actors increasingly using cyber tools to meet their geopolitical goals and the diversification of cybersecurity incidents, the EU needs to be more resilient to cyber- attacks and create effective cyber deterrence, including through criminal law, to better protect Europe's citizens, businesses and public institutions. As announced in President Juncker's State of the Union address on 13 September, the Commission and the High Representative are therefore today proposing to reinforce the EU's resilience and response to cyber-attacks by strengthening the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), creating an EU-wide cybersecurity certification framework, a Blueprint for how to respond to large-scale cybersecurity incidents and crises, and a European Cybersecurity Research and Competence Centre. Today's proposals also include a new Directive on the combatting of fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment to provide for a more efficient criminal law response to cyber–attacks, as well as a Framework for a Joint EU Diplomatic Response to Malicious Cyber Activities and measures to strengthen international cooperation on cybersecurity.

This wide-ranging cyber security package builds on existing instruments and presents new initiatives to further improve EU cyber resilience and response in three key areas:

  • Building EU resilience to cyber-attacks and stepping up the EU's cybersecurity capacity
  • Creating an effective criminal law response
  • Strengthening global stability through international cooperation

Facts and Figures

The scale of the problem makes the need to act even more urgent. Recent figures show that digital threats are evolving fast: since the beginning of 2016, more than 4,000 ransomware attacks have occurred worldwide every day, a 300% increase since 2015, while 80% of European companies have been affected last year. Studies suggest that the economic impact of cybercrime rose fivefold from 2013 to 2017, and could further rise by a factor of four by 2019. Ransomware has seen a particular increase, with the recent attacks reflecting a dramatic rise in cyber-criminal activity. However, ransomware is far from the only threat. An increasing number of Europeans also see cyber-crime as an important threat for the European Union, according to a Eurobarometer survey. 87% of respondents regard cyber-crime as an important challenge to the EU's internal security and a majority are concerned about being victims of various forms of cybercrime, with the largest proportions concerned about discovering malicious software on their device (69%), identity theft (69%) and bank card and online banking fraud (66%). The two most common concerns about online payments are the misuse of personal data, identified by 45% percent of respondents, and the security of the transaction itself, with 42%. This has prompted many to act to better ensure their security online, with 62% having changed their passwords over the past six months and 45% having installed anti-virus software. However, some have even stopped conducting online transactions with 12% having reduced their online purchases and 10% having opted out of online banking.

Alliance for Torture-Free Trade: To stop the trade in goods used for capital punishment and torture

The Alliance for Torture-Free Trade is an initiative of Argentina, the European Union and Mongolia, bringing together countries from around the world. Its aim is to end the trade in goods used to carry out the death penalty and torture. The countries of the Alliance commit themselves to take measures to control and restrict exports of such products. We also want to monitor trade routes and exchange information in order to put an end to this trade.

Europe struggles to find united front to combat illegal content online

Theresa May will tell the likes of Google and Facebook they must remove terror content within two hours or face potential hefty fines.

By Mark Scott and Laurens Cerulus

| 9/20/17, 12:51 PM CET | Updated 9/20/17, 12:52 PM CET

Europe can’t make up its mind about policing terrorist propaganda and hate speech online.

That divide will again be on display Wednesday when British Prime Minister Theresa May will tell the United Nations that the likes of Google and Facebook must remove terror content within two hours or face potential hefty fines. Not to be outdone, new laws in Germany will take effect in early October that may dole out financial penalties of up to €50 million if tech giants fail to take down hate speech from their digital platforms. While some of Europe’s largest countries are pushing ahead with new legislation and possible fines to clamp down on such illegal online material, other EU member countries, as well as the European Commission, have yet to be convinced. Many countries, particularly those from the former Soviet bloc, are concerned that this aggressive policing of what can, and cannot, be posted online may restrict people’s freedom of expression, even if such material borders on either terrorist propaganda or hate speech directed at vulnerable groups like refugees. EU policymakers also have so far restrained from crafting legislation that mirrors domestic efforts from the British or German governments, among others, instead relying on voluntary codes to nudge companies like Twitter to do more to remove illegal content from their social networks. This muddled approach, experts warn, raises questions about how the EU is approaching the growing amount of illegal material online when it already has pushed ahead of other countries, notably the United States, in policing the digital world. By potentially forcing tech companies to decide what can be published online, others fear Europe is moving toward outsourcing decisions over freedom of expression to private companies often headquartered outside of the EU. “Until Europe has a consistent position on these things it is really hard to lecture others on this,” said David Kaye, U.N. special rapporteur on the protection of freedom of expression. “The fundamental problem is this imposition of liability on the companies for their own policing of expression.” In response, tech companies say they have removed hundreds of thousands of accounts from their platforms that shared illegal material and invested in new technologies and manpower to combat illegal content whenever they are made aware of it by users online. The digital giants also continue working with governments, including a new voluntary global initiative announced Wednesday aimed at combating jihadist material online. “Combatting terrorism requires responses from government, civil society and the private sector,” said a spokesperson for the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, the newly created body that includes EU countries and the likes of Brazil and Indonesia. “We are committed to doing everything in our power to ensure that our platforms are not used to distribute terrorist content.” These efforts, though, are unlikely to win over critics in Europe, including some of the region’s most powerful lawmakers.

EU Policy Cycle- EUPCN

The completion of the internal market and the abolition of internal border controls within the countries of the European Community have created an increasing internal market within the EU. Technological and commercial developments have reduced national trade barriers, widened the transportation infrastructures and bolstered volumes of international business, also, the Internet and extensive cellular telephone networks have promoted fast communication. These developments have greatly contributed to the welfare of the EU. However the other side of these developments is the easiness in which organized criminal groups use this open space to extend their criminal activities. In order to combat this growing organized criminality, the EU has come up with a multiannual Policy Cycle which coordinates the measures taken to prevent and combat this serious and organized crime. The following article explains you what the EU Policy Cycle is, how it works, what the current developments are for the next Policy Cycle 2018-2021 and the article also goes further into a new development which is including prevention into the Policy Cycle.

Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators Toolkit: Positive Youth Development

The ‘Positive Youth Development Toolkit’, developed by the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA), is designed to help agencies, organizations, and stakeholders improve services, programs, and outcomes for youth involved in the juvenile justice system.

Restorative Responses to Sexual Violence: Legal, Social and Therapeutic Dimensions- Edited by Estelle Zinsstag, Marie Keenan (2017)

Restorative Responses to Sexual Violence: Legal, Social and Therapeutic Dimensions (Hardback) book cover

This international collection brings together leading expert scholars and practitioners to offer both theoretical and practical perspectives on restorative justice and sexual violence. This book will be of interest to researchers in the field of law, criminology, psychology, social science, social work and psychotherapy, as well as practitioners in the fields of criminal justice, restorative justice and sex offender and victim trauma therapies. ‘Developing integrated responses to sexual violence: an interdisciplinary research project on the potential of restorative justice‘.

Restorative Justice - Moving forward with Restorative Justice in Scotland - Friday 13th October 2017, Edinburgh

This important deliberative conference will build on the learning from the The Scottish Universities Insight Institute funded programme of dialogues on Restorative Justice in Scotland - learning from others held earlier this year. The dialogues addressed research, desistance, sexual violence and homicide and RJ. Speakers include Professor Joanna Shapland (University of Sheffield and convenor, Restorative Justice Forum Scotland)