New PSCE White Paper on IoT for Public Safety

The Internet of Things (IoT) for Public safety PSCE white paper describes use cases for IoT in Public Safety. The scope of the white paper is to describe a selection of use cases that demonstrate the potential of IoT using different technologies: licenced and non-licensed as well as standardised and proprietary.The objective of the white paper is to show how IoT can be used to aid the practitioners in public protection and disaster response in saving human life and help local communities tackle emergencies and dangerous situations, by deploying sensors or devices to monitor the environment (e.g. air pollution, river water level detection, fire, gas detection), or in controlling devices such remotely accessing door locks, etc. The use cases are the result of questionnaires and discussions with practitioners in different fora like the PSCE conference or the PSRG workshops.

Download the White Paper here.

rescEU officially into force, reinforcing emergency support to Member States

On March 21, the European Commission's proposal to strengthen the EU's collective response to natural disasters – rescEU - has entered into force.

Legislation Adopted

According to the Decision, already published in the Journal of the European Union, “there is a need for on-going cooperation at local, regional and cross-border level with a view to establishing common alert systems for rapid intervention prior to the mobilisation of rescEU as well as regular public information campaigns on initial response measures.” The legal text also states that “in order to ensure a response that is both coordinated and rapid, decisions on deployment and demobilisation, and any decision in the event of conflicting requests, should be taken by the Commission in close coordination with the requesting Member State and the Member State owning, renting or leasing the rescEU capacities in question. The Commission and the Member State owning, renting or leasing the rescEU capacities should conclude operational contracts specifying the terms and conditions of deploying rescEU capacities.”

Overall, rescEU will include in particular aerial means to combat forest fires, as well as resources to respond to medical emergencies and to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents. The decision will also strengthen the existing voluntary pool of national capacities. To ensure that Europe is prepared for this year's forest fire season the new legislation will include a transition phase during which Participating States can get funding in exchange of putting their firefighting means at the disposal of the EU.

Union Civil Protection Knowledge Network

The decision includes a number of new provisions that will help Member States boost existing capacities and contribute more to the European Civil Protection Pool such as: co-financing 75% to upgrade their national capacities, co-financing the costs incurred for the deployment of assets, and the implementation of the European Union Civil Protection Network. The Commission will work with Member States to ensure that investments undertaken with Structural Funds are "disaster proof". This means that they will have to take into account the risk assessments that Member States provide.

Following the official adoption of rescEU, the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said: "With rescEU, we have put words into action. We have delivered a practical tool for citizens that can save thousands of lives in the future. rescEU means having a much stronger, pan-European civil protection system. I am very grateful to our Member States in the Council of the EU and the European Parliament for their overwhelming support over the last months. With the next forest fire season just a few months away, our EU Emergency Centre is working around the clock with Member States to make rescEU operational."

Reinforcing EU Cybersecurity

1) Cybersecurity Act almost adopted

The European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission reached a political agreement on the Cybersecurity Act, reinforcing the mandate and competences of ENISA, the European Union Agency for Network and Information and Security. Moreover, the political text is set to create a certification framework for products and services.

Following a political agreement reached in December 2018, the European Parliament, on 12 March 2019, approved the new Regulation. It still needs to be approved by the Council and will come into force 20 days after being published.

ENISA’s mandate

The new proposed mandate reinforces ENISA’s role and enables the Agency to better support the Member States in implementing the NIS (security of network and information systems) Directive and to counter particular threats more actively by becoming a centre of expertise on cybersecurity certification. The name of the Agency will be changed to EU Cybersecurity Agency.

Certification Framework for connected devices

The political agreement on the Cybersecurity Act will also create a framework for European Cybersecurity Certificates for products, processes and services that will be valid throughout the EU. It establishes the first EU-wide cybersecurity certification scheme to ensure that certified products, processes and services sold in EU countries meet cybersecurity standards. This is considered as a ground breaking development as it is the first internal market law that takes up the challenge of enhancing the security of connected products, Internet of Things devices as well as critical infrastructure through such certificates. The creation of such a cybersecurity certification framework incorporates security features in the early stages of their technical design and development (security by design). It also enables their users to ascertain the level of security assurance, and ensures that these security features are independently verified.

After the vote on the Cybersecurity Act at the plenary meeting of the European Parliament, rapporteur Angelika Niebler (EPP, DE) said: “This significant success will enable the EU to keep up with security risks in the digital world for years to come. The legislation is a cornerstone for Europe to become a global player in cyber security. Consumers, as well as the industry, need to be able to trust in IT-solutions."

2) Strengthening technical expertise in Cybersecurity at EU level: A pool of EU cybersecurity experts to be set-up

Following the adoption by the European Parliament of the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Centre for European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Competence Centre and Network of National Coordination Centres, negotiations have started with the Council mid-March in order to adopt these new measures. Together, these structures will help secure the digital single market and increase the EU's autonomy in the area of cybersecurity.

The Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Centre will enhance the coordination of research and innovation in the field of cybersecurity. It will also be the EU's main instrument to pool investment in cybersecurity research, technology and industrial development.

The Cybersecurity Competence Network will consist of National Coordination Centres designated by member states. The national centres will either possess or have access to technological expertise in cybersecurity, for example in areas such as cryptography, intrusion detection or human aspects of security.