Press Release: Announcement of new partnership to bridge the digital gap between Brussels and Silicon Valley: Friends of Europe and XRSI

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Peace, Security & Defence

Picture of Seán Flynn
Seán Flynn

Press Officer

Brussels, San Francisco, October 20 – The heart of the EU and the tech centre of Silicon Valley draw ever closer as Friends of Europe, a think tank based in Brussels, and the Extended Reality Safety Initiative (XRSI), begins a new partnership.

More and more attention is being paid to the metaverse from the EU Commission, and while technology is constantly evolving, security must evolve with it to ensure citizens are well-protected. The safety risks of XR are similar in many ways to those of other computing devices: malware attacks, data breaches, and data theft. Brussels’ bureaucracy has faced criticism for its lack of agility in implementing lasting technology governance in the past.

Equating e-privacy issues to child’s play is just one of many potential security issues XR presents. Beyond video games, XR is projected to disrupt healthcare (creating $5.1bn in patient monitoring demand), real estate ($2.6bn, commissions), engineering ($4.7bn, CAD/CAM software), and military industries ($1.4bn, defence training and simulation). Therefore, disinformation and cyberattacks are major concerns for citizens, not to mention the cascade of social issues that widespread XR use may cause.

By developing a brand-new partnership, Friends of Europe and XRSI have agreed to the following goals. The two parties will advocate for a safer, more inclusive, democratic, and human rights-based metaverse, as well as create a platform for dialogue between Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Brussels, and Washington DC-based regulators on XR safety.

The development of broader communications channels with Washington DC and EU policymakers so that they can make informed policy decisions around metaverse safety is seen as a positive move towards bridging the technology gap between the EU and US.

European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, often referred to as the EU’s digital czar, summed up the potential for the metaverse in January: “The metaverse will present new markets and a range of different businesses. There will be a marketplace where someone may have a dominant position.”

On November 17, Kavya Pearlman, Founder & CEO of XRSI, will join Friends of Europe’s Peace, Security & Defence Summit session on emerging and disruptive technologies as a key speaker to evaluate the game changers for or against Europe.

Doing Virtually Everything

Chris Kremidas-Courtney, Senior Fellow for Peace, Security & Defence at Friends of Europe, will moderate a panel on 15 December which will take place in virtual reality – a first for Friends of Europe – alongside high-level EU officials. The panel will discuss policymaking and governance as part of Metaverse Safety Week. During the same week, the partnership will hold a Virtual Reality townhall (Metaverse Citizens Forum) to hear from the citizens the metaverse may impact.

The new partnership will explore innovative policy solutions for possible transatlantic regulation of metaverse with regard to cross-border data transfers, IP protection, privacy rights, and other issues on the EU-US Trade and Technology Council agenda.

Friends of Europe and XRSI will begin their work to bring awareness to the opportunities and risks in our digital future through events, and sharing articles via Friends of Europe’s policy Journal #CriticalThinking and XRSI’s media platform ReadyHackerOne. These initiatives will promote policies to safeguard and promote democracy, equality, inclusion, and the rule of law in XR.


WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Website           friendsofeurope.orgxrsi.org

Twitter              Friends of Europe: @FriendsofEurope. XRSI: @XRSIdotorg. ReadyHackerOne: @ReadyHackerOne

Facebook         Like us at facebook.com/friendsofeurope.foe

Instagram        Follow us @friendsofeurope

 

For more information, please contact Seán Flynn, Press Officer at Friends of Europe below:

 

Seán Flynn | Press Officer

Friends of Europe

+353 86 064 4317

sean.flynn@friendsofeurope.org

 

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