Europe continues to be targeted by acts of terrorism – some co-ordinated on a large scale, such as the recent vehicle attack in Barcelona, and many others by ‘lone wolf’ attackers such as the stabbing of two women in Marseilles a few weeks ago.
Authorities have intercepted a number of attacks and we have seen additional security measures in place, for example the extra security checks at EU airports which began over the summer.
The European Commission announced a new plan on 18 October which is aimed at ‘delivering a Europe that protects’ and has allocated 18.5 million Euro (£16.46 million) to address immediate needs.
What’s Being Done
Protecting public spaces is a priority of the new measures, as is enhancing security and addressing vulnerabilities.
According to a press release issued by the European Commission, the ‘operational and practical measures’ will also ‘close the space in which terrorists can operate by further restricting access to explosive precursors and improving cross border access to financial information’.
Euronews noted that some member states are already using some of the measures put forward by the Commission, but that the new plan is intended to streamline these efforts and improve overall effectiveness across the EU. Ultimately, the 16-month roll-out will work towards a European Intelligence Unit.
In countering radicalisation, steps include supporting law enforcement’s online criminal investigations by assisting with decrypting the encryptions used by criminals.
Terrorism in the Digital Age
Social media has been shown to play a large role in radicalisation, but Fortune reported in September that the proposed crackdown by EU authorities on social media hate speech was ‘extremely dangerous’.
Civil liberties activists are concerned that taking such strict action against posts on channels like Facebook and YouTube could lead to greater online surveillance and censorship, but EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova argues that, “We cannot accept a Wild West approach, and we must act.” Her negotiations with Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Microsoft have resulted in a code of conduct with a self-regulatory slant.
According to Fortune’s report, it still takes up to a week for problematic content to be removed, so there is a strong case for tightening the regulations.
How will the fine line between privacy and protection be dealt with? Time will tell.
Safe Journey is committed to helping travellers to make every journey safer. Our terrorism travel insurance can be added to any travel insurance policy, from only £4.96 per person for a single trip of up to 8 days. Cover includes cancellation (disinclination to travel) if there’s an act of terrorism within 40 miles of your destination, up to 6 weeks prior to your departure. For full details, as well as terms, conditions and exclusions, read our FAQs or Policy Wording.
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