EU seeks feedback on communications infrastructure security

Published 22 January 2007

Officials see risk in growing interdependancy from terrorists and other criminals; natural disasters also in play; EU commission lists ten policy objectives and invites stakeholders to email their responses

With the European Union both expanding and drawing internally closer, there is great concern that the body’s communications infrastructure is increasingly vulnerable. Terrorists are a major concern; so too are sophisticated criminals and unpredictable natural disasters. Either of these could create an unfortunate domino effect wiping out communications bloc-wide. Of course, EU officials are themselves aware of this problem and are presently seeking feedback from stakeholders as to how to solve it. “Communication and information infrastructures are the nervous system of our modern society,” said Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media. “As our dependency on them grows, we need to do all we can to safeguard such networks. I therefore call on all stakeholders to participate in this consultation so that we can together determine how best to protect ourselves in the future.”

Reding’s plea was promoted by a recent commission study that took a close look on reliability against failure as well as the overall robustness of European communications. The study made ten recommendations, including: emergency exercises and drills; the establishment of pre-arranged priority restoration procedures; the conclusion of formal mutual aid agreements between operators and service providers; addressing interdependencies between the communications and other critical sectors; enhancing information sharing mechanisms including cross-sector communications; the implementation of innovative trusted concepts; and the use of industry consensus best-practices.

With so much at stake, the Union is not satisfied with this recitation of somewhat obvious proposals. Rather, as Reding explaineed, EU officials hope that the private sector, NGOs, states, and international bodies provide feedback. The commission can be contacted at until the end of April 2007.

-read more in this ContinuityCentral report