Digital Responsibility

The threat of cyber-attacks to our national infrastructure, our electoral system, and our businesses in Dublin is real.

Digital Responsibility

The Internet has delivered an incredible transformation in our lives including new industries and global connectivity. However, parents are at their wits’ end trying to keep up with the pressures created by unrestricted internet access. Raising teenagers was always tricky but smartphones have made matters much more complicated still. We know from recent research by CybersafeIreland that over three quarters of 8 year-olds own a smart device and almost 40% of them are speaking to strangers online.

Fianna Fáil welcomes the belated announcement by the Government that a Digital Safety Commissioner will be appointed, the Taoiseach having previously stated that he “would be loath to go down that road”.

It is clear that digital responsibility cannot be left to the technology companies alone. They have to be regulated and the best way to do this is at a European level.

But digital responsibility doesn’t end with the protection of children. While the digital revolution has opened up crucial avenues for investment in Ireland and for innovative start-ups, the productive economy requires protection from malicious forces.

Cyber attacks are estimated to cost the global economy €400 billion every year.

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Ransomware attacks increased threefold between 2015 and 2017.

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The economic impact of cyber crime has risen fivefold since 2013.

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87% of Europeans see cyber crime as an important challenge for the EU's internal security.

Our domestic critical infrastructure (including the national grid), our elections, and industry, including the multi-national companies located here are under active threat of cyber attacks.

In addition, a cyber attack in one country can have an impact in others and possibly EU wide. Government structures have simply failed to keep up with the incredible pace and all-pervasive nature of the digital revolution.

The EU has recently adopted measures to strengthen cyber security across the Union by setting up European Cybersecurity certificate schemes to ensure products and services marketed in member-states meet the required security standards.

Further work is required, in particular the directive which provides a blueprint for an effective response in the event of a cyber attack impacting several member states needs to be implemented with speed. We know from recent research by CybersafeIreland that over three quarters of 8 year-olds own a smart device and almost 40% of them are speaking to strangers online.

As your MEP, I will campaign for:

– The effective resourcing of our national Office of the Digital Safety Commissioner.

– The location of a Cyber-Security centre of excellence for Europe in Dublin.

– A transparent system for independent oversight of taking down hate speech, cyber bullying and other obnoxious material.

– The development of the digital single market in the EU.

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