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The Cybersecurity Agency has been tasked with building a common defence, without any faults, against cyberattacks in the EU. While it seemed like an uphill struggle at first, restructure after restructure has built it into an organisation at the forefront of fighting Brussels’ war on cybercriminals.
European agencies play a supporting and coordinating role in European cybersecurity. However, with reference to specific EU regulations, every member state can establish its own organ to safeguard both private and national interests.
The Covid-19 crisis has turned us into a digital society. Large parts of our day-to-day lives now take place in the digital sphere and this has made Member States much more vulnerable to cyberattacks. To neutralise them, the European Commission launched its new Cybersecurity Strategy in December 2020.
European countries have spent months debating what to do with data collected through contact tracing apps. A lack of consensus, as well as the launch of new systems by Apple and Google, lessened the chances of a unified protocol among the bloc. What is clear is that Europe always prioritised the data protection of its own users.
Member states have imposed eight hundred and eighty sanctions since the law was introduced in May 2018, but the war against the tech giants has just begun. If the EU wants to win it, it will need to commit to it with greater investment and cooperation from all its members.
Action is being taken to increase transparency on the processing of users’ personal data on the internet, but the main digital advertisers still rely on intrusive practices that try to influence people’s behaviours. European regulation on data protection could mitigate the issue, but its enforcement is limited
The online advertising system is based on the collection and sharing of user data, in an opaquely competitive market which rests mostly in a few powerful hands, including Google. Privacy and data protection are at issue, and Europe is debating what action should be taken.
Digital platforms often trick users into giving up their personal data or buying particular products. These “dark patterns” go against European legislation, but authorities are struggling to combat them.
The measures adopted by some Balkan countries to contain the pandemic have raised perplexity in associations and researchers who deal with privacy and digital rights. Emergency actions, derogating from the national rules of law, could translate into mass surveillance tools.