Our civilization must deal with issues no other people have ever experienced. The world is more sensitive and interconnected than ever before, and our actions today may decide whether or not our civilization will still be here 100 years from now. It is from this perspective that the European Union chooses to tackle the issue of cybersecurity. Globally, the uncertainty around this new world of activity is understandable. The connections are complex and it is obvious no single government or organization has the capacity to answer all the problems we see today. This issue of The European Files assumes an explorative role in the subject of “cyberpower” and its consequences. Essentially, this new realm of activity must be properly defined. Our contributors are acutely aware of the need for a paradigm shift regarding our perspective on cyberdefence. Ultimately, the Internet transcends the European Union’s key operations as well as the lives of its citizens. Indeed, solutions will necessarily require a collaborative effort from a multitude of actors present in this magazine. Firstly, the policymakers and experts are uniting their spheres of operations to best identify the priorities and objectives within the realm of cybersecurity. The threats to our personal privacy and national security are constant and understated. National governments and international defence organizations alike are overwhelmed by attacks to infiltrate and uncover sensitive information about Europe’s infrastructure. Cybercriminality networks that support violence, extremism, racism, and pedophilia are protected by the complexity of cloud computing. Additionally, businesses are weary of the reputation lost amongst consumers when their information centers are cracked. It is a legislative priority to protect and promote a balance between privacy and security in this hyper-speed network. The future of European innovation is at risk and national governments such as Germany and Estonia are leading the way in providing revolutionary public and defence policies to deal with these new threats. The infrastructure for most crucial sectors of European activity rely heavily on the progress made in cyber-networks and states are looking to pool expertise to support the weakest links in the network.
Fortunately, within the European community, there is certain richness in capacity and policymaking regarding cyberstrategies. Whether it’s the European Defence Agency or the International Telecommunication Union, coordination and transparency underlie each step of this journey. Although the priorities many vary from one organization to another, the strategies demand for a stronger partnership between the public and private sector. Like all relationships, it is built on trust and each joint effort highlights the importance of a normative framework that empowers businesses and people through greater awareness of the issues ahead. The Cyber Convention Committee provides the international precedence regarding the efforts taken by states across the world to set standards of security. Organizations such as NATO share the urgency and dynamism felt in this sector of defence without necessarily discussing the sources of the threats to our security. All actors do acknowledge the sensitivity of this information and each provides their own motivations to set aside their inhibitions to cooperate more effectively.
This issue also unites the activity of all citizens, private or public. As cyberspace is the basis for billions of euros in economic activity, it is only natural that action plans created by governmental and non-governmental institutions should focus on a new kind of relationship. Public-Private Partnerships should play a central role in tackling the issues regarding cyberspace. This tool is a favorite of the European Union to promote united markets and innovation across the continent. In this case, actors discuss the areas of cybersecurity that will benefit most from a freedom of information and expertise. Many hope the Public-Private Partnerships will not only be a tool for innovation, but also develop into a standard of European economic activity. Ultimately, these partnerships will be judged on their ability to tackle the many challenges created by an evolved sphere of criminality and insecurity.
The challenges of cybersecurity are pushing the European Union to devote considerable resources to better equip its citizens with the capacity and confidence to protect themselves in this new world. Proposals from governments and suprastate departments reiterate the importance of education through trainings and academic curriculums as the basis for a better future. The solutions of tomorrow will also rest on our ability to collaborate on issues such as information freedom. No matter the actor, the consensus it that action must be comprehensive. This edition of The European Files unites the many players involved in developing this framework that our world will need for a brighter and more confident future.