Cyber challenges in the 21st century – technology-driven transformation of privacy and security reality

Technological developments are not only a source of numerous improvements but also of new challenges that need to be addressed by policymakers. The use of big data, the Internet, and various digital tools has implications in fields such as privacy and security. The new threats are not omitted by the EU, which needs to regularly reassess its privacy- and security-related strategies to address the most pressing issues. Two of them are the dangers that technology, big data, and the Internet pose for individual privacy and for the development of terrorist operations.

In the case of privacy and security of personal data, the EU has already devoted attention to the problem of social rating – banning it was mentioned in the proposal of the AI Act. The topic of social rating was raised possibly as a result of fears of rating-related ideas that had started to appear in China. The Chinese project that went viral in the West as an Orwellian means of control – the Social Credit System – is often said to be the first all-encompassing tool for social rating. Numerous misconceptions arose around the System – has the EU clarified them prior to including the ban on social rating in the AI Act? Can the European policymakers know how to prevent social rating without detailed knowledge of what exactly they wish to avert?

Contrary to the tech-enabled social rating, terrorism-related strategies are not to fully prevent the occurrence of terrorism, as it is not a novel phenomenon. Instead, policies should be adjusted to the developments in this field to limit its reach and maximize security. Technology-enabled cyber jihad brings terrorism to a new, broader level, facilitating information and propaganda dissemination, recruitment, and communication. Has the EU managed to remold its counterterrorism strategies to combat terrorism in the cyber sphere? Are the strategies based on detailed expert knowledge of this issue?

The above challenges have three common points. First, they constitute security-related problems. The former relates to the security of privacy and the latter – to terrorism-related dangers. Secondly, they are of interest in the EU and fall under the “cyber” label. Lastly, tackling both of the issues requires a vast knowledge of the non-European realms and operations, e.g., in China and the Middle East.

The aim of this session is to present privacy- and security-related problems that are brought about by technological developments, as well as briefly present the EU’s reaction to them. The speeches will relate to social rating and its current development, referring broadly to China’s Social Credit System, as well as to tech-driven cyber jihad. The session is to enable a broader discussion related to the accuracy of the EU’s reaction to the cyber challenges of the 21st century that will take place during the following panel.


Speakers invited to the panel:

  1. Chairman: Ms. Emilie Szwajnoch, University of Silesia in Katowice, Katowice, Poland
  2. Ph.D. Joanna Kulesza, University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland
  3. Mr. Vincent Brussee, MERICS, Berlin, Germany
  4. Mr. Adam Knight, Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands
  5. Ph.D. Miron Lakomy, University of Silesia in Katowice, Katowice, Poland
  6. Ph.D. Craig Whiteside, U.S. Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, United States


Institutions involved:

University of Silesia in Katowice

The event is finished.