The secure, open and resilient Internet is a key asset for all citizens, businesses and governments. Trustworthy and reliable services and digital tools are essential elements for economic growth, innovation, development, social cohesion, security, defence and the fight against climate change.
The EU supports a global, open, stable and secure cyberspace, grounded in the rule of law, human rights, fundamental freedoms and democratic values.
Geopolitical competition is threatening the open and secure Internet. State actors, which wish to limit freedoms, and non-state actors, which misuse system vulnerabilities for financial benefit, for information gathering, for disinformation and misinformation purposes, are undermining the long-term integrity of the Internet.
How is the EU responding to this global threat? How the EU is addressing this critical issue through dialogue and partnerships? The EU launched its Global Gateway initiative in 2021 aiming to boost smart, clean and secure infrastructure links in digital, energy, transport, and strengthen health, education and research systems across the world. What is the potential of the Global Gateway to support an open and secure Internet that would be beneficial to all? How does the EEAS approach the issue and promote appropriate tools for an open and secure Internet globally?
Panellists noted that cybercrime, disinformation and censorship are major obstacles to a free internet, especially in Africa. Both state and non-state actors weaponise the internet, making it unsafe for users.
The EU can contribute by helping Africa to develop proprietary platforms that respond to African needs. In this context, speakers stated there must be a human-centric, development focused approach to technology that includes cybersecurity education and support for democratic principles. In addition, investment in infrastructure is needed to ensure access for everyone.