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EU: European Commission proposes creation of Network Security Agencyto boost Cyber Security in Europe


Brussels, 10 February 2003

European Commission proposes creation of Network Security Agency to
boost Cyber Security in Europe

The European Commission is proposing a Regulation setting up a European
Network and Information Security Agency. The objective of the Agency
will be to serve as a centre of competence where both Member States and
EU Institutions can seek advice on matters relating to cyber security.
The Agency will play a key role for the security of Europe's digital
economy and the development of the information society in general. The
Agency will also provide assistance to Member States' authorities
notably their Computer Emergency Response Teams. This assistance will
for example be to help in ensuring interoperability of information
security functions in networks and information systems. Erkki Liikanen,
European Commissioner responsible for Enterprise and Information
Society, said: "The EU will benefit from increased co-ordination between
Member States to achieve a sufficiently high level of security in all
Member States. The European Network and Information Security Agency will
build on national efforts to enhance network and information security
and to increase the ability of Member States and EU Institutions to
prevent and respond to network and information security problems".

Today both public and private organisations with different objectives
gather data on IT incidents and other data relevant to information
security. However, there is no central entity at European level that
collects and analyses such data to support the EU policy work in that
area, whilst at the same time providing added-value to national
initiatives. Co-operation is key in this area. The European Network and
Information Security Agency will launch co-operation initiatives between
different actors in the information security field, e.g. to support the
development of secure e-business. Erkki Liikanen said: "Such
co-operation will be a vital prerequisite for the secure functioning of
networks and information systems in Europe."

Today more than 90 percent of companies in the EU have an Internet
connection and the majority of them operate a web site. In 2002 about
40% of EU households had their own Internet connections and more than
two-thirds of the population used a mobile phone. Public administrations
are moving towards electronic government. Computers and communication
networks control critical infrastructures such as electricity and water
supply or public transport systems.

Already a lot depends on networks and information systems and their
secure functioning has become a key concern, especially in the aftermath
of the 11th of September events, for everybody: citizens, businesses and
public administrations.

In the near future, security requirements will rapidly change as
networking and computing develop further and electronic communications
become more ubiquitous. For instance broadband connections offer people
the possibility to be connected to the Internet at all times which will
multiply the potential risks of cyber-attacks, and new wireless
applications will enable the users to access the Internet from anywhere.

From an EU-policy perspective the activities related to network and
information security are interrelated with the legal framework on
telecommunications, data protection and cyber-crime.

Governments see a widening responsibility for society and are
increasingly making efforts to improve security on their territory.
Member States are however in different stages of their work and the
approaches vary. Today there is no systematic cross-border co-operation
on network and information security between Member States, although
security issues cannot be an isolated issue for only one country.

Network and information security issues are also of a global nature, as
electronic communication channels do not stop at national or European
borders. Enhanced international co-operation in this field is necessary.
The Agency will provide support for the EU contacts with relevant
parties in third countries.

Erkki Liikanen said: "Society as a whole as well as individuals have to
learn how to manage the risks involved in networks and information
systems. The European Network and Information Security Agency will
contribute to that process."

The text of the proposal can be found at:


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