EU's cybersecurity strategy under fire before Thursday reveal

Industry, politicians and digital rights groups are all taking issue with the plan

The European Commission's long-awaited Cyber Security Strategy will be presented on Thursday and as written, it would force private companies, so-called "enablers of information society services," to report all data breaches or cyber security incidents to national authorities.

With leaked drafts of the text circulating in Brussels, the strategy has come under fire before it has even been formally announced. Industry leaders are worried that extending the scope of reporting mandates could harm business, while European digital rights group EDRi said that the move would give national authorities access to "sufficient information from almost everyone online" in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The next step in implementing the strategy is a planned Directive on Network and Infrastructure Security that will need to be approved by the European Parliament and the European Union member states.

Voluntary regulation has not worked, a European Commission official said. Therefore member states will be required to designate a contact agency that is responsible for interacting with other agencies in the E.U. "We would expect such agencies to include experts who can forensically analyze malware," said the official. E.U. member states will also be asked to guarantee minimum capabilities to respond adequately to threats.

So-called enablers of information society services, which would include companies such as PayPal, Google, Amazon, eBay and Skype, would have to notify authorities of data-privacy breaches or "incidents with a significant impact" on services, such as natural disasters, extreme weather and cases of human error, as well as cyberattacks. There must be consequences if this is not done, said the Commission official, but it is up to the member states what sort of sanctions they want to implement.

Meanwhile Dutch Member of the European Parliament, Sophie in 't Veld said the strategy was "incoherent, lacking in focus and a complete hotchpotch."

"It looks like almost every Directorate General (department) in the Commission wanted to write its own bit of the strategy. It bothers me that all these different policy areas are being lumped together in one document. It covers so much, from internet fraud and illegal downloading, to child pornography and international security," she said.

"The lines are being blurred and we need to safeguard the fundamental rights we expect in a democracy and not cede disproportionate powers to law enforcement," said In't Veld.

The Commission draft text says that "synergies between civilian and military approaches in protecting critical cyber assets should be enhanced" and adds that the Budapest convention on cybercrime should serve as a model for future plans. But, said the official, "we are not China, we are not trying to use cyber security to control what is on the web."

The Commission's 2012 online public consultation found that 57 percent of respondents had experienced cyber security incidents in the previous year that had a serious impact on their activities.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags business issuessecuritylegalinternetgovernment

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?