Cyber Security Industry Alliance Newsletter • Volume 2, Number 6  • February 2006

Global Perspectives


The Austrian Presidency of the EU (which took over from the UK on 1 January 2006) has made IT security, better regulation and more efficient use of spectrum resources priorities in the area of the information society for its six months at the EU helm. In a joint statement, Austria and Finland (who will take over the Presidency from Austria on 1 July 2006) put i2010 at the top of their information society agenda, with an emphasis on ensuring the security of ICT systems:

"Particular attention will be devoted to enhancing security and interoperability of electronic communications and services, in order to strengthen the internal market and European citizenship."

On the issue of security, the two Presidencies will focus on the Communication on Security due to be published by the European Commission in the first quarter of 2006.

Work on the European Parliament’s report on i2010 is underway: the lead committee is the Industry, Research and Energy Committee. Reino Paasilinna (Finnish Socialist) is the MEP responsible for drafting the report. Other committees that will prepare Opinions that will feed into Paasilinna’s report are:

Data Retention

The European Commission estimates that the text of the Data Retention Directive, as agreed between the European Parliament and Council of Ministers in December 2005, will not be finalised before February 2006, as it must be translated, signed off by the legal linguists and formally adopted by the Council of Ministers.

The European Economic and Social Committee (ESC) issued an Opinion on the Data Retention Directive on 19 January 2006. The ESC states, inter alia, that it is "very surprised and concerned by the submission of such a legislative proposal: its provisions are disproportionate and infringe fundamental rights". The ESC is concerned that the directive could hinder people’s confidence in ICT and electronic communications. Cost is an additional concern. On that basis, it concludes that the Commission should substantially revise its proposal.

UK Home Secretary, Charles Clarke MP, committed at the 10th Annual Advisory Forum of the UK’s Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA UK) to continue a close dialogue with the Internet industry over the transposition of the Data Retention Directive into UK law.

Internet governance and WSIS

In a speech delivered to the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai on 16 January 2006, Commissioner Viviane Reding, responsible for the information society and media, referred to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and the conclusions of the Tunis meeting in November 2005. She stated that:

"Governments agreed that there should be no governmental oversight on the day-to-day managing of the Internet. At the same time they agreed to work on a new Internet governance model, including a wide dialogue between governments and with industry and civil society stakeholders. In my view, the outcome of the WSIS set out a sound basis for an Information Society for all, firmly anchored in the UN’s human rights provisions and respectful of the fundamental freedoms, notably the freedom of information. The WSIS outcome should be a starting point for the emergence of an inclusive, global Information Society putting citizens at the centre of the e-strategies. This is crucial for the prosperity of our world, and represents huge economic opportunities for all countries as information and communication technologies increasingly drive growth and jobs."

Online public procurement

The European Commission has published four explanatory notes on aspects of the procurement procedures under the new Public Sector Directive (2004/18/EC) and the new Utilities Directive (2004/17/EC). The notes explain the competitive dialogue procedure and the use of framework agreements under the Public Sector Directive, and the definition of special and exclusive rights, and the application of the law to contracts involving more than one activity under the Utilities Directive.

Safer Internet Plus Programme

The January edition of Insafe monthly newsletter has been published.


Other Issues of Relevance


  • Review of the Regulatory Framework: the European Commission organised a workshop on 24 January 2006 on the topic of the review of the EU Regulatory Framework for Electronic Communications and Services. There was a session on "consumer protection, citizens’ interests and users’ rights, privacy and security, standards and interoperability, leased lines". The Austrian Presidency’s work programme (see i2010 section above) does not foresee a legislative proposal from the Commission on this review before the end of 2006.

  • Secure web-based network for the coordination and exchange of information on irregular migration: the European Commission has adopted a Decision laying down detailed rules for the implementation of the Council Decision establishing a secure web-based "Information and Coordination Network for Member States’ Migration Management Services" (ICONET). The purpose is to ensure an effective development of this network in order for the rapid exchange of information in member states’ fight against illegal immigration.

  • Critical infrastructure: the American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union (AmCham EU) has published a position paper on the European Commission’s Green Paper on Critical Infrastructure Protection. AmCham EU underlines the importance of any legislation not resulting in disproportionate costs for any particular industry and urges the Commission to consider other hazards than terrorism (e.g. natural disasters). The paper will shortly be available at:

  • EU-China Information Society Dialogue: set up in August 2005, the EU-China Information Society project is a joint initiative between the Government of China and the European Union. It is a four-year programme that will run until July 2009 and is intended to help the Chinese government improve its regulatory and legal environment, "especially in copyright, telecommunications law, information security and access to government". The project launched its first initiative - on e-government – on 12 January 2006.

  • Europe Is Urged to Improve Web Security: Europe must work harder to make the Internet more secure as the nature of online threats becomes increasingly criminal across the 25-nation bloc, said Viviane Reding, the EU's media commissioner, at a conference on trust in the Internet. Almost 80 percent of EU citizens are concerned about Internet security and half do not engage in electronic commerce because they worry about having their personal financial data stolen on the Web, she said. Reding stressed the importance of international cooperation in promoting user trust in the Web and said she would soon announce a "strategy for enhanced security." Reding's comments were echoed by Alun Micheal, Britain's minister of state for industry and the regions, though he warned that too much security could do more harm than good.