Cybersecurity and Disinformation in the EU Electionsand Priorities of DG Connect with Deputy Director-General Claire Bury - Report
On the day that the UK announced that it will participate in EUElections, the chamber was fortunate enough to welcome back Claire Bury, Deputy-Director of DG Connect to discuss cybersecurity and disinformation in the EU elections and the future of DG Connect. The roundtable was full of high level business representatives, who were keen to hear the Deputy Director-General share what she has been working on and what impact it will have.
Very recently, the Commission has been working with Google, Facebook and Twitter to establish a ‘Code of Practice’, to ensure that these companies work to prevent false advertisement and the publishing of incorrect data and harmful content. This will be done through the use of fact-checkers from independent organisations and the establishment of transparency reports. The EU aims to review the Code of practice in a year’s time and see what else can help prevent the spread of false information. Alongside this, the EU aims to create a ‘myth-busting network’ that will help ensure that consumers are not receiving in correct information that will impact their decisions, and also provide training to help people review what they see online and not take what they read at face value.
One of the biggest problems that the EU faces when tackling online content is defining what harmful content is. Who decides what is harmful, and what process is needed to remove the content from the website? However, it is very clear that there is a great deal of harmful content that is directed towards politicians and political groups online, which is something that the EU seeks to tackle. In addition, female politicians are receiving more abuse than men, as women are 37% more likely to receive abuse online compared to men.
The event featured a great deal of interaction, with our members having the opportunity to ask Ms Bury whatever questions they wished. The conversation moved to the future of DG Connect and what their focus would be. It was suggested that it could move to more high levels of technology, such as AI.
Following the event, David Reed, KREAB, and our Investment & Growth Task Force Chair provided the chamber with his thoughts on the event.
“Thank you again to the chamber for a first class discussion with Claire Bury, on the very timely and important topic of cybersecurity and disinformation, just weeks away from the European Parliamentary elections.
It was fascinating to hear in such detail from a senior policymaker how the Commission balances responsible oversight of online platforms, which can be exploited as targets for promoting misinformation, with the need to preserve freedom of speech and champion democratic debate and information exchange”
Deputy Director-General | DG Connect
Claire Bury is currently Deputy Director General in DG CONNECT with responsibility for regulatory aspects of the Digital Single Market. She is also a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe in Bruges. She was previously Director of Modernisation of the Single Market in Directorate General Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. Before that, she was Head of Unit for Company Law, Corporate Governance and Financial Crime in Directorate General Internal Market and Services, and Deputy Head of Cabinet to Internal Market Commissioners Charlie McCreevy and Frits Bolkestein. An English barrister by training, she worked in the Commission's Legal Service and, before coming to Brussels, in the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.