Category Archives: technology

EU €5 million for “Blockchains for Social Good”

The European Commission will award 5 prizes of €1 million each to social innovations as part of the Horizon Prize on “Blockchains for Social Good”.

The prizes will be awarded to innovators that use blockchain technology to bring about positive social change, including for support of fair trade, allowing transparency in production processes, decentralising data governance and enhancing privacy, enabling accountability and contributing to financial inclusion. This prize encourages the development of scalable, efficient and effective solutions using Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), the ground-breaking digital technology supporting decentralised methods of consensus reaching or transactions. The official launch is taking place today in Turin, organized by the city of Turin and innovation foundation Nesta Italia. The prize is the third of six European Innovation Council (EIC) Horizon Prizes and funded under Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme. Detailed rules of contest will be available in February 2018, and the deadline for applications is 25 June 2019 in order to allow applicants to demonstrate the viability of their ideas in practice. More information is on the prize page and the EIC pilot website.

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EU support regions on high-tech projects

The Commission is announcing which interregional partnerships will receive tailored support under a new EU-funded pilot action for innovative projects.

 “Regions with matching competitive strengths will be able to bring their projects to a common big table. With the right support from the EU, their good ideas will turn into innovative products, among which you will find the European innovation stars of tomorrow.” Said Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu.

The aim of this pilot action is to help these partnerships scale up their projects in priority sectors such as big data, bioeconomy, resource efficiency, advanced manufacturing or cybersecurity.

Following a Commission call for interest launched in September 2017, eight interregional partnerships have been selected, with one or several coordinating regions in the lead:

A partnership involving 8 regions led by Noord-Brabant (NL), Flanders (BE) and Norte (PT) will develop joint projects in the field of 3D printing;
A group of 9 regions led by Flanders (BE) will work together in the bio-economy sector;
Bretagne (FR), together with 3 regions and Estonia, will focus on cybersecurity;
Lombardia (IT) and 7 other regions have chosen the circular economy, and more specifically de- and re-manufacturing, as their speciality;
Toscana (IT), 21 other regions and Estonia will dedicate common efforts to develop new solutions in high-tech farming;
Scotland (UK) and País Vasco (ES) are coordinating a group of 16 regions for joint projects in the field of marine renewable energy. The Norwegian region of Sogn og Fjordane is also associated.
Andalucía (ES) and 5 other regions have defined sustainable buildings as their thematic priority;
Andalucía (ES) and Emilia-Romagna (IT) lead a group of 9 regions who will come up with innovative projects in the fields of traceability and big data in agri-food.

These partnerships will benefit from support from special teams established within the Commission, involving experts from several thematic departments. The experts will provide advice on how to best combine EU funds to finance projects, for example.

In addition to this hands-on support from the Commission, each partnership can benefit from external advisory service up to a value of €200,000 for scale-up and commercialisation activities. The money comes from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

This interregional partnerships pilot is part a new set of actions presented by the Commission in July 2017, in order to take smart specialisation one step further and boost innovation in EU regions, so they can all hold their own in a globalised economy.

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

EU plan new telecoms rules

“Our future is digital, and these rules are key to creating a gigabit society throughout the EU,” said Urve Palo, Estonia’s Minister for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology.

The Council granted the Estonian presidency a general mandate to begin negotiations with the European Parliament on new rules for the electronic communications sector that will prepare Europe for the era of 5G by promoting investment, competition, consumer protection and the development of new services.

 “I am pleased that the Estonian presidency has obtained this first mandate earlier than we expected. We will now make every effort to achieve solid progress in talks with the Parliament by the end of the year. The unanimous support for our proposal shows the Council’s commitment to deliver on the digital single market.” Explained the Estonia’s Minister.

Boosting investment is necessary to ensure that the EU is able to meet the ever-growing demand for gigabit connectivity, which is a vital part of the digital revolution.

The minister added that work on this file reflects the importance the Estonian presidency attaches to connectivity and 5G. “In July, my colleagues and I signed the declaration on the adoption of 5G. At the Tallinn Digital Summit, European leaders also discussed how to promote 5G and connectivity. These steps will be reflected in the meetings of the European Council and the Telecoms Council later this month.”

The proposed rules, the European Electronic Communications Code, cover a wide range of areas, from consumer rights to operators’ access to networks and member states’ cooperation on spectrum management. The overhaul is intended to reflect changes in the market since the introduction of the current rules in 2009, and will provide a future-proof framework for a swift and extensive roll-out of 5G and other new generation technologies. These new technologies will facilitate the introduction and expansion of innovative digital services such as connected and autonomous cars, smart cities and smart energy grids.

The Council mandate widens the scope of electronic communications services to take account of the growing importance of services provided over the internet (also known as ‘over-the-top services’, or ‘OTT’), which includes VoIP, messaging apps and email. This is a major change compared to the current rules, which cover only traditional services that are linked to a specific number, such as text messages and landline and mobile calls. Certain characteristics of the service, such as whether the user pays for the service, will determine which rules will apply. In addition, the mandate includes a review mechanism to ensure that end-user rights remain up to date in view of the quick pace of change in business models and consumer behaviour.

The mandate provides for increased cooperation among member states to make radio spectrum available to operators in a timely and predictable manner. However, the Council text acknowledges that the best way to use spectrum varies across the EU, for a number of reasons, including physical geography, population distribution, market conditions and borders with non-EU countries. It also takes into account the fact that member states may need flexibility to react to technological and market changes in their management of spectrum.

The Council’s position updates current rules on operators’ access to networks to encourage competition and make it easier for companies to invest in new infrastructure, including in more remote areas. The mandate allows authorities to reduce the level of regulation to some extent where markets are competitive but introduces safeguards where these are necessary to ensure that the effective regulation of the market is not undermined.

The Council retains the core regulatory approach based on ‘significant market power’ (SMP), which has proved its value over the years in opening up markets to new entrants. However, as market players are becoming increasingly complex, SMP regulation alone is not enough to ensure competition in all cases. SMP rules will therefore be complemented with symmetric regulation of all providers of electronic communications networks in certain situations. In addition, the Council mandate introduces some additional tools to allow national regulatory authorities to address issues that may arise in certain market circumstances, such as duopolistic situations.

The mandate was granted by member states’ ambassadors at a meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper I).

An initial exploratory ‘trilogue’ meeting with the European Parliament is expected to take place by the end of October, if the Parliament confirms at its next plenary session that this is possible.

Drones: safety first

”Drones offer tremendous opportunities for new services and businesses. That is why we want Europe to be a global leader. I am confident our modern and flexible regulatory framework will give rise to new European champions in this sector. But safety always comes first. If we don’t move fast enough, the near misses between drones and airplanes could one day have disastrous consequences. I am therefore calling on the European Parliament and the Council to swiftly agree on our proposal from December 2015.”  Said Violeta Bulc said, Commissioner for Transport .

The European Commission is today giving a push to speed up the implementation of EU-wide rules for the use of drones in the European Union. More than 1200 safety occurrences – including near-misses between drones and aircrafts – were reported in Europe in 2016, which underlines the pressing need for a modern and flexible EU regulatory framework. The Commission is therefore calling on the European Parliament and the Council to agree on its proposal from December 2015 establishing an EU-wide framework for drones. Pending this adoption, the Commission’s Single European Sky Air traffic management Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR) is today making half a million euro available to support the demonstration of “geo-fencing” services. These can automatically prevent drones from flying into restricted zones, such as the vicinity of airports.

Germany ready for eletronic identification means (eID)

Germany is the first Member State to complete the formal notification of an eID under the 2014 Regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market (eIDAS Regulation).

The European Commission calls for a wider use of electronic identification means across the EU, as Germany has taken the final step to enable its citizens to use the electronic Identification means (eID) to access online services in other Member States.

As part of the Digital Single Market, this step is needed to ensure a mutual recognition and the use of national eIDs across all Member States. This accomplishment arrives on the eve of the Tallinn Digital Summit of 29 September, where Heads of State and government will discuss further plans for digital innovation in the years to come. Once eIDAS will be fully operational, EU citizens and companies will have the choice to use the eID to access online public services in other Member States. In addition, commercial services will be able to rely on such eID for their business offering across the EU. While the Members States are free to decide whether they notify their eIDs, they all must recognise the eIDs of other Member States that have already been notified.

Europol: new solutions for ATM Malware Protection

“The joint industry – law enforcement report by Europol’s EC3 and Trend Micro shows that the malware being used has evolved significantly and the scope and scale of the attacks have grown proportionately. While industry and law enforcement cooperation has developed strongly, the crime continues to thrive due to the major financial rewards available to the organized crime groups involved. This report assesses the developing nature of the threat. I hope that it serves as a blueprint for future industry and law enforcement cooperation,” said Steven Wilson, Head of EC3.

Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and Trend Micro, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions today released a comprehensive report on the current state of ATM Malware. Cashing in on ATM Malware details both physical and network-based malware attacks on ATMs, as well as highlights where the malware is created.

ATM malware has evolved from requiring physical access to infect the machines to now successfully attacking network-based access using the bank’s corporate network. The report dissects recent attacks using bank networks to both steal money and credit card data from ATM machines, regardless of network segmentation. These attacks not only risk personally identifiable information (PII) and large sums of money, but also put banks in violation of PCI compliance standards.

“Protecting against today’s cyber threats and meeting compliance standards require increased resources that are not always available for organizations, including those in the financial services industry,” said Max Cheng, chief information officer for Trend Micro. “Public-private collaborations strengthen the global, ongoing fight against cybercrime, and help fill the resource gap for organizations. This report furthers Trend Micro’s commitment to helping law enforcement and private businesses mitigate future attacks and protect individuals.”

In addition to the public report, a limited-release version is available to law enforcement authorities, financial institutions and the IT security industry. This private report provides greater detail for public and private organizations to harden ATM and network systems and prevent future attacks against financial institutions.

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