Category Archives: cyber security

Fujitsu inaugurate Blockchain Innovation Center in Brussels

Fujitsu opened a new international Blockchain Innovation Center in Brussels on March 21, 2018. The center undertake research with external partners, collaborating on specific projects to explore the technology’s potential and limitations. Fujitsu’s aim is to develop the potential of blockchain beyond financial services as a new architecture for information systems and sectorsof all kinds.

Brussels was selected by Fujitsu for the geographical, political, technological and linguistic advantages it offers to international organizations considering applications of blockchain technology, making it an attractive testing-ground for novel co-creation initiatives. The centerhas an international remit. Alongside local projects in Belgium, Fujitsu’s co-creation model has resulted in a number of international projects, including projects in Germany, UK, the Netherlands and participation EU Horizon 2020 projects.

Blockchain represent a big opportunity in Europe. Many people think that Blockchain beeng solely about financial services bitcoin and cryptocurrency. It is not. I think Blockchian could be the world glue or oil for the world economy and the public sector. So that make sense to be in the heart of Europe in a country with a long track record of innovation like Belgium.” Explained Duncan Tait, CEO of Fujitsu Americas and EMEIA.

One particular area of expertise that Fujitsu plans to develop in the Blockchain Innovation Center is the use of blockchain for the design and implementation of Smart City services, focusing not only on technology, but also on important aspects of the cityof the future, such as sociological and demographic factors, societal organization, economic functioning and ecological challenges. The center will support and encourage research, development and innovation, both for Brussels and for other cities, throughthe funding of innovative projects by companies, research organizations and the non-commercial sector. Although the initial focus is on Smart Cities, the goal is to deliver scalable, secure, business-ready blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) solutions in a wide variety of industries.

The first blockchain R&D project being developed at the center is called “Blockchain as enabler of services in the context of Smart Cities”, and is being conducted in collaboration with Innoviris, the Brusselsinstitute for the encouragement of scientific research and innovation. The 24-month project is focused on establishing blockchain knowledge and expertise for the design and implementation of services in the context of Smart Cities, in areas such as citizen participation and elections, and the interaction between smart devices, the Internet of Things (IoT) and a multimodal supply chain. It consists of two main tracks: to build fundamental knowledge about the use of blockchain for Smart City applications, and then to apply this knowledge to specific use cases, with the aim of creating meaningful business solutions.

Mr Kris Peeters, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister, commented that “Belgium is the ideal place to establish an international skills center such as the Fujitsu Blockchain Innovation Center. Not only it is located in the center of Europe, but it has also made the innovation the engine of its economy. In addition, our compatriots have excellent language skills, making them valuable contributors to multinational companies or international projects. It is important that all levels of government continue to work actively with innovative companies to support the overall economic fabric of Belgium.

Fujitsu has already identified more than ten projects and multiple European cities aiming to fulfill their ambitions to become Smart Cities have also expressed interest in collaborationwith Fujitsu. The Blockchain Innovation Center it is expected to lead to co-creation relationships with international and Belgian public bodies, customers, partners andthe Hyperledger Project (see Alternative Blockchain platformsbelow) to extend the technology beyond the current focus of proof of concepts into scalable, secure and business-ready DLT solutions.

What is blockchain?
Blockchain is essentially a database infrastructure, originally designed for the crypto-currency Bitcoin as an alternative to traditional government-guaranteed money and bank-controlled payments. What makes this technology special is the fact that the data is multiplied and stored across a network of nodes. This data distribution is the foundation and strength of blockchain technology, as it enables trusted information storage without a central controlling body (or trusted third party often referred to as an ‘authority’) by means of a network of computers (nodes). New transactions are sent to the blockchain, where they are encrypted before being sent to every node for validation and, once validated, stored in blockchain building blocks. Every new block is linked by cryptography (hash tree) to the previous block (which, in turn, is securely attached to its predecessor block). This makes the chain immutable: every change in one block entails change in every subsequent block on every node. Blockchain is said to provide trustworthiness like traditional ledgers. Therefore, it is usually referred to as Distribution Ledger Technology.

Watch the full interview with Duncan Tait, CEO of Fujitsu Americas and EMEIA:

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Artificial intelligence and ethical standards

 

The Commission has opened today applications for a group on artificial intelligence (AI) to gather expert input and rally a stakeholder alliance.

Also today, the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE), an independent advisory body to the Commission, has published a statement on artificial intelligence. The expert group will be tasked to advise the Commission on how to unite a broad and diverse community of stakeholders in a ‘European AI Alliance’; support the implementation of the upcoming European initiative on artificial intelligence; and come forward by the end of the year with draft guidelines for the ethical development and use of artificial intelligence based on the EU’s fundamental rights. The guidelines will be drafted following a wide consultation and building on today’s statement by EGE. Applications to join the expert group in artificial intelligence can be submitted until 9 April and the Commission aims to set this group up by May. The group will gather and build on the work done by other experts which is relevant to artificial intelligence, such as the high-level strategy group for industrial technologies (intermediate report) and the expert group on liability and new technologies. For the latter a call for applications was also launched today. This expert group will assist the Commission in analysing the challenges related to the existing liability framework.

FinTech: more competitive and innovative financial EU market

 

The European Commission today unveiled an Action Plan on how to harness the opportunities presented by technology-enabled innovation in financial services (FinTech). Europe should become a global hub for FinTech, with EU businesses and investors able to make most of the advantages offered by the Single Market in this fast-moving sector. As a first major deliverable, the Commission also put forward new rules that will help crowdfunding platforms to grow across the EU’s single market.

Today’s Action Plan envisages to enable the financial sector to make use of the rapid advances in new technologies, such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and cloud services. At the same time, it seeks to make markets safer and easier to access for new players. This will benefit consumers, investors, banks and new market players alike. In addition, the Commission proposed a pan-European label for platforms, so that a platform licensed in one country can operate across the EU. The Action Plan is part of the Commission’s efforts to build a Capital Markets Union (CMU) and a true single market for consumer financial services. It is also part of its drive to create a Digital Single Market. The Commission aims to make EU rules more future-oriented and aligned with the rapid advance of technological development.

New EU cyber platform

The European Security and Defence College will in September launch a cyber platform to coordinate education, training, evaluation and exercises (ETEE) in the field of cyber security/defence across Europe.

Marking ‘Safer Internet Day’ on 6 February 2018, the EU Member States tasked the European Security and Defence College (ESDC) with managing a platform for education, training, evaluation and exercises (ETEE) in the field of cyber security/defence.

The main task of the ETEE platform within the ESDC is the coordination of cyber training and education for EU Member States. The existing training will be harmonised and standardised and new courses will close the gaps between training needs and training activities. These efforts will be jointly undertaken by various stakeholders, including several centres of excellence and partner organisations.

The cyber platform will reach its initial operating capability by 1 September 2018. The process of recruiting three seconded national experts with specific knowledge in the field of cyber security will be launched in the coming days. The full operational capability of the platform is planned to be announced in April 2019.

€50 million for cybersecurity competence centres

The Commission launched today a call for proposalsfor a €50 million pilot to support the creation of a network of cybersecurity competence centres across the EU.

The winning consortia, including also university labs and research centres, should scale up existing research for the benefit of the cybersecurity of the Digital Single Market, with solutions that can be marketable. The experience collected in the selected projects will contribute to the design of the future competence network which will include a European Cybersecurity Research and Competence Centre. This pilot project was announced in September 2017 together with a wide-ranging set of measures to equip Europe with the right tools to deal with cyber-attacks and to build strong cybersecurity in the EU. The project will be funded through the Horizon 2020Framework Programme. The call for proposals is openuntil 29 May 2018. Yesterday, the Commission also took another important step related to improving cybersecurity: as the Directive on security of network and information systems (NIS Directive) will have to be transposed by all Member States by9 May, the Commission adopted animplementing regulation on digital service providers (i.e. cloud computing services, online marketplaces and search engines) and the severity of cybersecurity incidents. The NIS Directive is the first piece of EU legislation aimed at strengthening the EU’s cyber-resilience. It supports the strengthening of national capabilities,establishes technical and strategic cooperation at EU level and introduces security and notification requirements.

Cyber threats: EU new Computer Emergency Response Team

An inter-institutional arrangement was signed yesterday that establishes CERT-EU as a permanent Computer Emergency Response Team for the EU institutions, bodies and agencies. This decision follows the successful operation of CERT-EU as a task-force over the last six years.

CERT-EU reinforces the protection against the cyberattacks, which are often targeted also against the EU institutions, agencies and bodies. CERT-EU works very closely with the internal IT security teams of the EU institutions and liaises with the community of computer emergency response teams and IT security companies in all Member States, exchanging information on threats and how to handle them. It also cooperates closely with its counterpart at NATO (NCIRC) and with the Hybrid Fusion Cell at EEAS. Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said: “CERT-EU is a key actor in the protection of the EU institutions against cyber threats. It demonstrates how much the EU institutions can accomplish when they act together.” Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel added: ”Now all EU bodies can count on a permanent operational cybersecurity team to help them respond effectively to the increasing number of advanced cyber threats also affecting citizens.

Technology embedded in every aspect of working life

Dr Joseph Reger Fujitsu’s EMEA CTO

Technology already surrounds us in the workplace, but we are about to enter an age where it will become embedded in every aspect of working life.

In the vison of Fujitsu’s Work place by 2025,artificial intelligence will deliver a huge leap forwards in enhancing the employee experience, by generating new levels of insight into employee behavior, preferences and context. AI will also play a key role in defending against an escalating cyber security threat, which will increase in sophistication as more areas of the business – from the office entry system to the coffee machine – become connected to the Internet of Things.

As Dr Joseph Reger Fujitsu’s EMEA CTO  explained:  “The security strategy for larger corporations makes it difficult for them to engage with smaller organisations and they are not willing to open up their critical systems to a level that makes it more vulnerable. Instead they will look to work with partners that have trusted systems that enable this collaboration”.

Fujitsu Forum 2017

 

At Fujitsu forum 2017 in Munich we asked to Dr. Reger the human aspects of technology:

  • How IT today is closer to human being?

Fujitsu is a company where responsible business conduct is very important, it is in the company values, and the company rules on how we behave and conduct business. The responsible business require thinking about the consequences of the technologies that we developed and the way we use it or the customer use it. In the early development when we discovered a particular development can cause certain ethical issues we feel obliged to look at the problem that can arise and what can be done to control or at least discuss them. AI is in a development stage today, for this reason we need to discuss and have a societal debate on the consequences, not only because such a powerful technology can be used as a weapon but also for other ethical consequences such as the job market aspects.

  • Could you explain the concept of Human Centric intelligent Society?

Fujitsu arrive at an important pillars in the technology strategy that needs to be human centric. The humans are in the centre of our interest. Our technology development is intended to help people to have better life, more comfortable life but also is addressing the big issue that human society has in terms of complexity we created in urban areas and so on. We clearly recognise that there is a need to use information technology to improve that situation. The humankind built an infrastructure that is not serving only our needs but also putting the human actor in the centre.

Watch the full interview:

Henry Borzi

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