The ongoing COVID-19 crisis brings into sharp focus the disproportional impact cyber-attacks have on non-state actors. Private companies and personal technology are being targeted and access to healthcare is threatened. Meanwhile, the debate on 5G cybersecurity rages on, as the EU and member state governments assess the security risks associated with Chinese technology. But governments can only do so much. Cyberspace is produced and controlled by private actors, and policy must walk the thin line of regulating and collaborating with Big Tech to formulate and implement such protections. The EU established its own agency for cybersecurity, ENISA, to advise on such matters, but this advice must also be translated into meaningful and coordinated policy initiatives to protect citizens and member states. It remains to be seen if this crisis will be the springboard for formulating stronger rights and protections of EU network infrastructure.
This Strategic Conversation with Juhan Lepassaar, Executive Director of the EU Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA), will look at the effects of COVID-19 on cybersecurity and will explore how to make our societies more resilient against cyberattacks.
This new Strategic Conversations series invites key policymakers to share their views on a range of important and strategically relevant issues through interviews with senior thinkers on the Friends of Europe team.
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- How can ENISA play a larger role in protecting EU citizens and member states from cyberattacks?
- How are existing EU standards helping to make our societies more resilient against cyberattacks? Which new standards could be adopted?
- Can the EU contribute to the international effort to develop norms against the abuse of cyberspace?
Juhan Lepassaar has extensive experience working with and within the European Union. Prior to joining ENISA, he was Head of Cabinet for Vice-President Andrus Ansip, responsible for the Digital Single Market. During this time, he facilitated the preparations and negotiations for the Cybersecurity Act. He also served as a Member of Cabinet for Vice-President Siim Kallas, European Commissioner for Transport. Before joining the Commission, he was Director for EU affairs at the Government Office of Estonia and an EU adviser to the Prime Minister.
Retiring from NATO in September 2018 after 38 years at the organisation, Jamie Shea has occupied a number of senior positions at NATO across a wide range of areas, including external relations, press and media, and policy planning. As NATO’s spokesperson, he was the face of the Alliance during the Bosnia and Kosovo conflicts. He later worked as the Director of Policy Planning in the private office of former Secretary General Rasmussen during the preparation of NATO’s 2010 Strategic Concept. Shea is also a regular lecturer and conference speaker on NATO and European security affairs.
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