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Monthly Free Article

Monthly Free Article

With the IS in tatters, will radicalisation rise in Europe’s prisons?

By BROOKS TIGNER, BRUSSELS – Now that the Islamic State’s territory in the Middle East has been abolished, Europe faces obvious threats from foreign fighters (FFs) returning from jihadist-oriented conflicts. One of the big knock-on effects will be the impact on radicalisation in Europe’s prisons. With national capitals due to transpose by September 2018 a new EU directive that criminalises FF participation in wars and attempts to travel to them, the size of Europe’s radicalised prison population is bound to grow. Despite buckets of EU money thrown at the problem during the last 10 years, however, Europe has done a poor job at staunching prison radicalisation, whether at national, regional or local level because no one has yet hit on an airtight counter-radicalisation formula. There are still too many unknowns for determining when someone has passed from an attraction to radicalisation to the intent to deploy violence. It doesn’t help matters that there is lingering reluctance in some political circles to publicly call a spade a spade, namely that...

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The EU’s GDPR and crime: throwing some light on the dark net

By PATRICK STEPHENSON, with BROOKS TIGNER, BRUSSELS – Data protection experts are issuing grim warnings about the growing capabilities of cyber-criminals on the so-called ‘dark net’ – the highly encrypted publicly remote layer of the internet where illicit transactions and money-laundering are rampant. Addressing the 8th Annual Data Protection and Privacy Conference here on 30 November, Caroline Goemans-Dorny, data protection officer at Interpol, said cyber-criminal networks have extensively developed dark-web business models. “They use very nice charts. They have CEOs, planning departments, human resources departments, and IT departments. They even have legal departments that figure out which countries have less stringent data protection requirements, and then they act in those countries.” But, according to Goemans-Dorny, the truly scary thing is...

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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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Pandemics: what the public demands to raise trust in authority

By MATTHEW SCHILKA, with BROOKS TIGNER, BRUSSELS – When the H1N1 pandemic, or “Swine Flu”, made headlines in 2009 it generated a wave of fear throughout Western countries. Although the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control estimates that more than 2300 people died from the flu in the EU alone, its consequences were less serious than some experts predicted. One of the consequences of H1N1 saw the public’s confidence in health authorities plummet, social media participants calling into question official statements on the pandemic’s potential impact. One of the key remedies, argues an EU-funded initiative, is for...

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Latest gathering of “community of users” brainstorms to improve European security and disaster resilience techniques

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – On 12 September, members of the “Community of Users on Secure, Safe and Resilient Societies”, or CoU, gathered at their eighth meeting in Brussels to discuss the results of a half-dozen security-related research projects. (See related “EPISECC” story in this issue.) Olivier Onidi, second in charge for security policy at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME), led off the three-day conference by addressing its “user” participants, or practitioners who deal with European security and emergency response every day. “Your work is critical in guiding us, and to help us accelerate the market uptake of different research tools and results,” declared Onidi, who noted that every EU member state wants to conduct more research on...

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When the other drone drops: big companies waiting for EU drone regulations to crystallise before swooping into the market

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – The EU’s Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR) released on 16 June its “vision paper” for drone use in the operational area known as the “U-Space” – that is, up to 150 meters in altitude. This “unmanned” space is becoming economically precious territory for drone operators and services such as infrastructure inspection and product delivery come online. But what does the U-Space plan actually mean? While not legally binding, it...

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First EU-NATO assessment reports progress on all fronts across their cooperation areas, but behind the rhetoric lies another story

By BROOKS TIGNER , BRUSSELS – EU and NATO completed their first joint report on 14 June (which EU foreign ministers reviewed on 19 June) regarding the two sides’ progress on implementing the 42 proposals they endorsed in Warsaw a year ago. These range from cyber-defence cooperation and counter-hybrid warfare to joint exercises, coordination of defence capability development goals, cross-operational support and other measures to boost Europe’s overall security. Their publicly released report is short – only four pages – and contains no details about progress on the individual proposals. Instead it proffers glowing statements about their accomplishments so far. "We are convinced that in the space of a few months we have achieved tangible results in the implementation of all proposals,” it states. That might apply to certain areas such as joint tabletop exercises or operational cooperation in the Mediterranean. But in other crucial ones, progress is snaking along at best and – as sources from both sides have told SECURITY EUROPE – will probably take years to effect real change, particularly for any...

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Ukraine clears EU visa hurdle, but tougher tests still to come

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – What are the prospects for developing relations between the war-torn state of Ukraine and the European Union? A mixed bag, to hear experts describe it. While most acknowledge that the country has adopted an impressive range of reforms, dark clouds remain on the horizon, with one EU politician arguing that the most difficult institutional changes in Ukraine have only just begun.Experts and policymakers gathered on 27 April under the auspices of...

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Hope for internet-of-things’ glorious future grapples with security

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – By 2020 more than 200 billion devices will be connected to cyberspace, forming the internet-of-things (IoT), according to industry estimates. Many of those will connect to their users through sensors monitoring everything from location and air quality to heart rate. On 19 and 20 April, Internet policymakers and experts gathered at the Eighth Annual Internet of Things Conference here to discuss how the proliferation of connected sensor devices is changing Europe.As one European Commission official put it: “In a few years, the data that your car transmits could be more valuable than the car itself.”In response, the Commission has begun to implement a regulatory framework intended to spur innovation. This includes...

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Journey without end: if human smuggling and high migrant flows are here to stay, as some surmise, then what policy implications?

By PATRICK STEPHENSON, BRUSSELS – In its latest annual risk analysis, Frontex – the EU’s border and coast guard agency – estimates that 382,000 people migrated to EU member states in 2016. That is down from 2015’s record number, but it remains huge by historical standards. In addition, 181,459 people arrived in Italy, or 18 percent more than in 2015, with big increases in flows from West Africa.Will these migrant flows ever go down? Or will they continue, putting pressure on European borders and national European politics for years to come?According to one group, the answer is...

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