The European level strategy, presented by High Representative Catherine Ashton in February 2013, is welcomed by the European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions as a starting point for a coordinated response to the threats posed by new forms of crimes.
The case of Edward Snowden, the US whistleblower, has brought cyber security to the political fore. While it can be considered a positive step that cyber-security is moving up the EU agenda, there is a risk that knee-jerk reactions which result in the rushing through of legislation do not take into account the interests of all involved stakeholders.
With the increase of cybercrime, it is imperative that modern technology is introduced within public services, especially in the public security sector. Investment in the most modern technology available is needed to eradicate the gap between criminals and law enforcement bodies, who work hard each day to prevent cyber-attacks.
Equally important is remembering who is behind new technology – workers. And indeed there needs to be people behind this new technology. New technology should not replace workers but rather be seen as the opportunity to improve the quality and efficiency of public services. In recent years, the demand for more public security is continuously on the rise.
Workers fighting crime should be able to respond to new forms of crime. To ensure this, full and proper training and re-training of workers is fundamental.
On the other hand, new technology cannot be used to put workers under constant surveillance. New technology should serve to increase working conditions, not lower them. It is important to remember that fighting any kind of crime is about bringing criminals to justice. The use of technology that would act as a disguised tool to spy on police agents could turn them into suspects, offering criminals additional unjustified ‘escape’ routes from criminal proceedings.
The position of the European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions, formulated by the Security Trade Council, can be read in full here.