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European Union Steps Up Efforts To Combat Foreign Interference And Disinformation

October 26th, 2021 12:26

Euro­pean media is report­ing that the Euro­pean Union is step­ping up its efforts to com­bat for­eign influ­ence oper­a­tions and dis­in­for­ma­tion. Accord­ing to a Eurac­tiv report, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion recent­ly gath­ered an expert group on dis­in­for­ma­tion and dig­i­tal literacy:

Octo­ber 12, 2021 The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion launched on Tues­day (12 Octo­ber) an expert group on dis­in­for­ma­tion and dig­i­tal lit­er­a­cy to devel­op com­mon guide­lines for edu­ca­tors when it comes to com­bat­ing the for­mer and train­ing cit­i­zens in the lat­ter.  The group, made up of com­pa­nies, organ­i­sa­tions and indi­vid­u­als from a num­ber of sec­tors, is joint­ly run by DG EAC and DG CNECT, the Commission’s depart­ments in charge of edu­ca­tion and cul­ture, and dig­i­tal affairs, respec­tive­ly. It will work to con­struct a stan­dard­ised frame­work for teach­ers in Europe to tack­le dis­in­for­ma­tion and pro­mote dig­i­tal lit­er­a­cy.   The ini­tia­tive is part of the Commission’s Dig­i­tal Edu­ca­tion Action Plan, which began this year and seeks to address the twin chal­lenges of tran­si­tion­ing into the dig­i­tal age and post-pan­dem­ic world. It fol­lows a sim­i­lar high-lev­el expert group on “fake news”, estab­lished in 2018 to counter the spread of online disinformation.

Read the rest here.

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion and Coun­cil have pre­vi­ous­ly launched sev­er­al ini­tia­tives to counter for­eign influ­ence oper­a­tions and dis­in­for­ma­tion, includ­ing the Action Plan Against Dis­in­for­ma­tion and the Code of Prac­tice on Dis­in­for­ma­tion in 2018 and the East Strat­Com Task Force, which oper­ates the Euvs­Dis­in­fo cam­paign in 2015.

In June 2020, the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment joined these efforts and vot­ed to set up a spe­cial com­mit­tee against for­eign inter­fer­ence and dis­in­for­ma­tion (INGE), which seeks to assess the lev­el of these threats and iden­ti­fy solu­tions. Accord­ing to the INGE web­site:

We will work to assess the lev­el of these threats in dif­fer­ent spheres: major nation­al and Euro­pean elec­tions across the EU; dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns on tra­di­tion­al and social media to shape pub­lic opin­ion; cyber-attacks tar­get­ing crit­i­cal infra­struc­ture; direct and indi­rect finan­cial sup­port and eco­nom­ic coer­cion of polit­i­cal actors and civ­il soci­ety sub­ver­sion.  Once we have estab­lished a gen­er­al diag­no­sis, we need to iden­ti­fy solu­tions and pro­pose tools to counter these attempts to sab­o­tage Par­lia­men­t’s core work. These find­ings and rec­om­men­da­tions will mate­ri­alise in the report that will cul­mi­nate our mandate.

Go here for the lat­est INGE hearings