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Digital challenges for Europe [What Think Tanks are thinking]

18-10-2019

The rapid development of digital technologies is posing a challenge to the European Union, spurring initiatives to catch up with the US and China in the area, notably in the context of the digital single market. Among the dilemmas are how to reconcile Europe’s sensitivity towards protecting private data with the need to use them in many algorithms, and ensure that automation and artificial intelligence strengthen rather than weaken labour market participation. This note offers links to a series of ...

The rapid development of digital technologies is posing a challenge to the European Union, spurring initiatives to catch up with the US and China in the area, notably in the context of the digital single market. Among the dilemmas are how to reconcile Europe’s sensitivity towards protecting private data with the need to use them in many algorithms, and ensure that automation and artificial intelligence strengthen rather than weaken labour market participation. This note offers links to a series of some recent commentaries and reports from major international think tanks and research institutes on digital challenges. Many earlier papers on the issue can be found in a previous item in the series, published in July 2018. Many reports on cybersecurity are available in a publication from October 2018.

Blockchain and the General Data Protection Regulation

24-07-2019

In recent times, there has been much discussion in policy circles, academia and the private sector regarding the tension between blockchains and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’). Whereas, the GDPR is based on an underlying assumption that in relation to each personal data point there is at least one the data controller, blockchains make the allocation of responsibility and accountability burdensome. Further, although the GDPR is based on the assumption that data can ...

In recent times, there has been much discussion in policy circles, academia and the private sector regarding the tension between blockchains and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’). Whereas, the GDPR is based on an underlying assumption that in relation to each personal data point there is at least one the data controller, blockchains make the allocation of responsibility and accountability burdensome. Further, although the GDPR is based on the assumption that data can be modified or erased where necessary to comply with legal requirements, blockchains, however, render the unilateral modification of data purposefully onerous in order to ensure data integrity and to increase trust in the network.

How the General Data Protection Regulation changes the rules for scientific research

24-07-2019

The implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) raises a series of challenges for scientific research, especially regarding research that is dependent on data. This study investigates the promises and challenges associated with the implementation of the GDPR in the scientific domain and examines the adequacy of the GDPR exceptions for scientific research in terms of safeguarding scientific freedom and technological progress.

The implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) raises a series of challenges for scientific research, especially regarding research that is dependent on data. This study investigates the promises and challenges associated with the implementation of the GDPR in the scientific domain and examines the adequacy of the GDPR exceptions for scientific research in terms of safeguarding scientific freedom and technological progress.

Údar seachtarach

DG, EPRS; This study has been conducted by the Health Ethics and Policy Lab, ETH Zurich

ENISA and a new cybersecurity act

05-07-2019

In September 2017, the Commission adopted a cybersecurity package with new initiatives to further improve EU cyber-resilience, deterrence and defence. As part of these, the Commission tabled a legislative proposal to strengthen the EU Agency for Network Information Security (ENISA). Following the adoption of the Network Information Security Directive in 2016, ENISA is expected to play a broader role in the EU's cybersecurity landscape but is constrained by its current mandate and resources. The Commission ...

In September 2017, the Commission adopted a cybersecurity package with new initiatives to further improve EU cyber-resilience, deterrence and defence. As part of these, the Commission tabled a legislative proposal to strengthen the EU Agency for Network Information Security (ENISA). Following the adoption of the Network Information Security Directive in 2016, ENISA is expected to play a broader role in the EU's cybersecurity landscape but is constrained by its current mandate and resources. The Commission presented an ambitious reform proposal, including a permanent mandate for the agency, to ensure that ENISA can not only provide expert advice, as has been the case until now, but can also perform operational tasks. The proposal also envisaged the creation of the first voluntary EU cybersecurity certification framework for ICT products, where ENISA will also play an important role. Within the European Parliament, the Industry, Research and Energy Committee adopted its report on 10 July 2018. An agreement was reached with the Council during the fifth trilogue meeting, on 10 December 2018. The text was adopted by the European Parliament on 12 March and by the Council on 9 April 2019. The new regulation came into force on 27 June 2019. Fourth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Interoperability between EU border and security information systems

14-06-2019

To enhance EU external border management and internal security, the European Commission has made several proposals to upgrade and expand European border and security information systems. As part of a broader process to maximise their use, the Commission presented legislative proposals for two regulations in December 2017 (amended in June 2018), establishing an interoperability framework between EU information systems on borders and visas, and on police and judicial cooperation, asylum and migration ...

To enhance EU external border management and internal security, the European Commission has made several proposals to upgrade and expand European border and security information systems. As part of a broader process to maximise their use, the Commission presented legislative proposals for two regulations in December 2017 (amended in June 2018), establishing an interoperability framework between EU information systems on borders and visas, and on police and judicial cooperation, asylum and migration. After completion of the legislative procedure at first reading in the Parliament and in the Council, the final acts were signed by the co-legislators on 20 May 2019 and published in the Official Journal two days later. Both acts came into force on 11 June 2019. The new rules aim to improve checks at the EU’s external borders, allow for better detection of security threats and identity fraud, and help in preventing and combating irregular migration. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Artificial intelligence, data protection and elections

20-05-2019

The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica case in 2018, revealing alleged misuse of personal data for political advertising, demonstrated how the underlying values of the European data protection rules are essential for democracy. The EU has recently adopted a series of additional initiatives to support free and fair elections, reflected not least in European Parliament (EP) debates and resolutions.

The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica case in 2018, revealing alleged misuse of personal data for political advertising, demonstrated how the underlying values of the European data protection rules are essential for democracy. The EU has recently adopted a series of additional initiatives to support free and fair elections, reflected not least in European Parliament (EP) debates and resolutions.

Area of freedom, security and justice: Cost of Non-Europe

08-05-2019

Substantial progress has been made since creating an area of freedom, security and justice became a major political objective for the EU 20 years ago. Still, there is a lack of consistent monitoring and enforcement of EU values and norms as well as outstanding gaps in the EU’s framework in certain areas. These deficiencies have a significant impact at individual level, notably in terms of preventing the effective exercise of fundamental rights by EU citizens and third country nationals alike. They ...

Substantial progress has been made since creating an area of freedom, security and justice became a major political objective for the EU 20 years ago. Still, there is a lack of consistent monitoring and enforcement of EU values and norms as well as outstanding gaps in the EU’s framework in certain areas. These deficiencies have a significant impact at individual level, notably in terms of preventing the effective exercise of fundamental rights by EU citizens and third country nationals alike. They also have a negative effect on budgetary spending, growth and tax revenue, which is estimated at at least €180 billion annually, with the lack of enforcement of EU values still to be assessed in more detail. Further EU action in four main areas: 1. monitoring and enforcement; 2. the creation of safe legal pathways for migrants and asylum seekers to enter the EU; 3. ingraining a European law enforcement culture; and 4. completing the Union’s fundamental rights framework, would have significant benefits. In particular, it could allow individuals to fully enjoy their fundamental rights and make EU society more secure, open, fair and prosperous. This would also foster trust in the EU on the basis of its ability to deliver on its aims

Personal data protection achievements during the legislative term 2014-2019: the role of the European Parliament

04-04-2019

Protection of personal data and respect for private life are important fundamental rights in the European Union. Considerable progress was made in safeguarding privacy during the legislative term 2014-2019 – most importantly, new EU data protection rules strengthening citizens’ rights and simplifying the rules for companies in the digital age took effect in May 2018. The European Parliament has always insisted on the need to strike a balance between enhancing security and safeguarding human rights ...

Protection of personal data and respect for private life are important fundamental rights in the European Union. Considerable progress was made in safeguarding privacy during the legislative term 2014-2019 – most importantly, new EU data protection rules strengthening citizens’ rights and simplifying the rules for companies in the digital age took effect in May 2018. The European Parliament has always insisted on the need to strike a balance between enhancing security and safeguarding human rights, including data protection and privacy. In Parliament, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee) is responsible for legislation in the area of the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data, according to Parliament’s Rules of Procedure.

What if a simple DNA test could predict your future?

22-03-2019

What if new-born babies were given a DNA report card that predicted their intelligence, their odds of getting a PhD, their chances of becoming a chain smoker or suffering depression, a heart attack or cancer? Thanks to ongoing genetic studies, a large amount of genetic data is available today involving millions of people. The wealth of information available to researchers allows them to create a polygenic risk score based on the DNA test of a person. This can be used to predict a person's chances ...

What if new-born babies were given a DNA report card that predicted their intelligence, their odds of getting a PhD, their chances of becoming a chain smoker or suffering depression, a heart attack or cancer? Thanks to ongoing genetic studies, a large amount of genetic data is available today involving millions of people. The wealth of information available to researchers allows them to create a polygenic risk score based on the DNA test of a person. This can be used to predict a person's chances of getting a disease, his or her traits and behaviour, and many other things about their future. Are these predictions flawless? Who would benefit from them? What are their implications for a person's life in general?

What if your emotions were tracked to spy on you?

13-03-2019

Recent reports of celebrity singer, Taylor Swift, deploying facial recognition technology to spot stalkers at her concerts raised many eyebrows. What started out as a tool to unlock your smartphone or tag photos for you on social media is surreptitiously becoming a means of monitoring people in their daily lives without their consent. What impact and implications are facial recognition technology applications likely to have, and what can be done to ensure the fair engagement of this technology with ...

Recent reports of celebrity singer, Taylor Swift, deploying facial recognition technology to spot stalkers at her concerts raised many eyebrows. What started out as a tool to unlock your smartphone or tag photos for you on social media is surreptitiously becoming a means of monitoring people in their daily lives without their consent. What impact and implications are facial recognition technology applications likely to have, and what can be done to ensure the fair engagement of this technology with its users and the public at large?

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