Advances in technology enable us to innovate as never before.
In the last couple of years, we have seen this development accelerating with advancements made in such fields as artificial intelligence, the internet of things and smart vehicles.
Growth today, and increasingly so in the future, is built on data.
The EU data economy, estimated to represent around two per cent of the entire European Union’s GDP in 2016, could double to four per cent by 2020.
Meeting the challenges of the digital revolution requires a holistic digitalisation strategy that centres on digital businesses and the commercialisation of digital opportunities.
Discussions surrounding the requirements of a more balanced data economy must be taken to a new level in terms of competitive markets, functionality of economies, equality and ethics.
A successful data economy calls for new types of operating models that are based on data access and shared data, while not forgetting the need for new approaches to privacy and information security in order to create an envi- ronment that promotes innovation.
Trust in the reliability of data processing is a prerequisite for a digital society.
Questions of privacy are increasingly relevant; data protection and information security are significant concerns to the public and private sectors and citizens alike.
Utilisation of the vast economic and societal prospects of digitalisation will not be possible without the users’ trust in both the internet and digital practices.
The main threat is that cybercrime, data breaches or large-scale privacy infringements will erode the trust of users in the internet and digital practices.
The public’s concerns relating to connected cars provide just one example of the problem of a lack of trust in data protection and information security.
In a survey conducted by FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), 85 % of Europeans indicated they were concerned that someone could hack their vehicle and interfere with their driving.
This kind of lack of trust risks delaying the development of technology which could in fact drastically improve the safety of road users.
According to studies, around 90 per cent of road accidents are in fact caused by human error, and driverless technology is expected to significantly reduce, if not eliminate, this factor.
Building the trust of users in digital services is not impossible.
The banking sector offers a good example. All of us have trusted our money to digital accounts.
We have also managed to develop a trust-based market of electronic identification.
If we can trust our money and transactions into the hands of digital services, we should be able to do the same when it comes to transport, health care and all other sectors.
Notwithstanding the acknowledged benefits, digitalisation makes us more vulnerable to digital threats.
We need to actively seek new innovative ways of countering these threats.
In order to maintain the trust of citizens, it is necessary to ensure that the use of digital services, algorithms and artificial intelligence benefits the citizens and never acts against them.
Governments and industry should face this challenge, and together figure out how to provide more trusted and secure digital services to the whole of society.
When algorithms and artificial intelligence control everyday services, such as transport and health care, it is crucial to protect these services from unauthorised or harmful use.
Citizens and business users will inevitably demand more secure ICT’s.
Further actions should be taken to increase the availability of trusted and secure digital products and services globally.
A prerequisite for intelligent solutions in fields such as trade, industry and transport is that the underlying systems and legislation are in order.
It is essential that new technologies, such as the internet of things, artificial intelligence, automated transport and digital devices and services, are safe and secure by design.
Privacy and security need to be integrated into algorithms and artificial intelligence.
Cyber security certification, standardisation and encryption are key to making this happen.
Cooperation between different actors is crucial for achieving both a secure and encouraging environment where digital services can thrive.
Information security and privacy are global issues, and we need to ensure, that the internet and the use of data does not become divided into regional blocks.
National cooperation between companies and officials is important, but so is international cooperation.
Active work towards developing a global approach, for example to cybersecurity, is needed.
Within the EU, important steps for increasing EU-wide cybersecurity have already been taken, for example through the adoption of the Directive on security of network and information systems (the NIS Directive) and the pending adoption of the Cybersecurity Act.
These legislative instruments increase cooperation between Member States within cybersecurity and endeavour to align some national practices in order to achieve improved cybersecurity within the union.
Digitalisation has much to offer in tackling the huge societal challenges of our time.
A prerequisite is, however, that we simultaneously ensure the openness and sharing of data with trust, digital rights and cybersecurity.
To achieve this end, the public sector, companies and individuals all need to collaborate, both nationally and internationally.
Through this collaboration, a thriving and secure future for our digital services is within our grasp.