Digital transformation begins with the trust of citizens and businesses. This exploratory opinion at the request of the Slovenian EU Presidency proposes the tools needed to build public trust in digital technologies and motivate people to participate in digital training.
Initiative addressing online platform challenges as regards the spreading of disinformation (Communication) - Related Opinions
The landscape of digital services is significantly different today from 20 years ago, when the eCommerce Directive was adopted. Online intermediaries have become vital players in the digital transformation. Online platforms in particular have created significant benefits for consumers and innovation, but at the same time, they can be used as a vehicle for disseminating illegal content, or selling illegal goods or services online.
The EESC takes careful note of the initiative's definition of disinformation as verifiably false or misleading information that is a threat to democracy and does public harm. Spreading disinformation has become a part of a hybrid war with a clear political aim. However, it also emphasises that, in addition to false information, highly selective information, defamation, scare-mongering and inciting hatred attack citizens' fundamental rights (freedoms) and minority rights.
Multiple actions from all stakeholders are needed to provide quality information and raise awareness. To this end, the EESC welcomes the initiative for coordinated action to protect the EU, its institutions and its citizens against disinformation. The EESC emphasises the urgency of such measures but is also concerned, however, that the impact of this action plan might be limited given that the May 2019 European elections are not far off.
Illegal online content is a complex and cross-cutting issue that needs to be tackled from a range of perspectives, both in terms of assessing its impact and harmonising the way it is dealt with in the legal framework of the Member States.
The EESC considers that ENISA's new permanent mandate as proposed by the Commission will significantly contribute to enhancing the resilience of European systems. However, the accompanying provisional budget and resources allocated to ENISA will not be sufficient for the agency to fulfil its mandate.
The EESC recommends to all Member States to establish a clear and equivalent counterpart to ENISA, as most of them have not done it yet.
The EESC also feels that, ENISA should prioritise actions to support e-government, should provide regular reports on the cyber-readiness of Member States focusing on sectors identified in Annex II to the NIS Directive and monitor the performance and decision-making of national certification supervisory authorities.
The EESC supports the proposal to create a cybersecurity competence network sustained by a Cybersecurity Research and Competence Centre (CRCC).
Since the launch of the Digital Single Market strategy in May 2015, the Commission has delivered on all key measures and presented 35 proposals in total. The Commission calls for swift co-legislative agreements and for all parties to ensure that the measures proposed are rapidly adopted and implemented to allow people and businesses in the EU to fully benefit from a functional Digital Single Market. With the DSM's results among the more tangible for EU citizens, the EESC is particularly interested in the impact on consumers.