Final event of the Medi@4sec project on technologies: Efus organises a special workshop with European experts


Paris, France, December 2018 Efus organised a final event of the Medi@4sec project on technologies titled “The future of data: the case of urban security”, on 7 December in Montreuil (FR). On this occasion, Efus launched its new working group on “Innovation and Security”, which will further the work and reflection carried out through the project.

> Professionals and experts from six European countries

The meeting gathered about 20 professionals and experts in innovation and urban security, the use of social media in security, and cyber security from six European countries: Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

The programme included a general presentation of the project, its results, practices and recommendations, “zoom sessions” on specific themes addressed through the project, as well as a workshop on the needs of local security stakeholders and how social media can address them.

> Cities are undergoing a technological mutation

The scope of the technological mutation that is transforming all aspects of our lives, in particular urban life and security, can be measured in a number of key figures. In 2018, the number of internet users worldwide surpassed 50% of the world population, with 3.9 billion users or 51.2% of the total, according to the United Nations.[1] In Europe, the internet penetration rate was 87% in 2017, according to Eurostat’s latest figures. Worldwide, social media have 2.9 billion subscribers, or 39% of the population, and Facebook has two billion active users.

Most European cities have developed platforms and online applications to improve public services such as transport, the environment, health, governance and, to a lesser degree, safety and security.

Having become “smart”, cities can now interact like never before with local residents and adapt their response in real time. The French data protection authority CNIL (Commission nationale informatique et liberté) defines smart cities as follows: “This new urban management mode covers areas such as public infrastructure (buildings, street furniture, domotics); networks (water, electricity, gas, telecoms); transport (public transport, smart roads and cars, car-sharing, ‘soft’ mobility such as bicycle and walking, etc.); e-services and e-administration.”

> Some practices put in place in European cities

Several European cities presented innovative programmes using technology for security, such as Turin (IT), The Hague (NL) and Rotterdam (NL).

  • Turin: a data processing platform created by the police

The police of this Italian city created a data processing platform that can identify the various types of alert in order to better measure and map out the feeling of insecurity in the local territory.

Part of the data are collected on social media and measure how citizens feel about, for example, a street barred to traffic by the local police or similar kinds of event.

The platform is a useful tool to guide policies aimed at curbing the feeling of insecurity.

  • The Hague: citizens in contact with the City Council through BART!

The city of The Hague presented its BART! service, which gathers in a control room information provided by online neighbour groups and social media. Through algorithms and chatbot technology, the municipality calls on residents to solve their problems or disputes, such as the loss of a bicycle or assisting somebody injured in the street.

In the cloud of collected data, BART! gathers information and sends it to the control room, which responds to situations reported by residents. One of the project’s challenges is to fix ethical limits to the exploitation of data gathered from local citizens.

  • Rotterdam: prevention of cyber threats

The Authority of the Port of Rotterdam, the largest in Europe, launched the FERM programme in 2014 to strengthen the resilience of the port and businesses that operate there to cyber threats.

After a cyber attack in June 2017 that caused the port to be partially closed and cost some 700 local companies over €250 million in loss and damage, the FERM programme was re-engineered. In addition, the port organises as part of FERM periodic prevention drills for enterprises operating in the port, for example to avoid phishing.

Rotterdam shared the lessons learnt from the 2017 incident with other ports in the world, such as Singapore.

> Efus’ “Innovation & Security” working group

In order to continue the work carried out through Medi@4sec and offer its members a space for exchange and reflection, Efus created the “Innovation & Security” working group, which was launched during the project’s closing event in December.

The working group will advocate an approach on security based on co-production, i.e. involving non-conventional security stakeholders such as the private sector, civil society organisations and specialised researchers.

It will also share knowledge on security and technology by disseminating good practices, and will organise exchanges among working group members both online and through special events – the next one to be held during Efus’ 2019 General Assembly meeting in Augsburg, in April. Lastly, the working group will raise awareness among local elected officials and practitioners on the opportunities and challenges of information technologies applied to local security.

If you wish to join the working group on “Innovation & Security”, please contact Myassa Djebara and/or Pilar De La Torre