Trust in the Digital Decade – Making sure technology serves EU citizens

On March 9th, the European Commission presented a vision for Europe’s digital transformation by 2030. This vision for the EU’s digital decade focuses on around four key points: skills, government, infrastructures, business. A framework of digital principles will help promote and uphold EU values in the digital space. At the heart of this is a secure and trusted online environment.

In February, when the European Commission unveiled proposals for the region to be a leader in artificial intelligence, Commission President Ursula von her Leyen, stated that “we want citizens to trust the new technology.” This concept of trust in the digital sphere has been repeatedly emphasised by Commissioner Vestager. In December 2020, she reiterated the importance of promising Europeans a “safe, fair, trustworthy digital world, for the decades to come.”

The EU has an ambitious recovery plan that will be green and digitally-led. EU citizens are already seeing the advantages of next generation e-health and e-mobility. These are enabled by gigabit networks. Gigabit network providers have an important trust role to play by providing Europeans secure and reliable access to the digital world through super-fast connectivity.

For connectivity providers, trust is defined as a secure connection, which is linked to cybersecurity; a private connection, which builds confidence about the transparent and trustworthy use of our data; and a resilient, future-proof and high-quality connection, which ensures good Gigabit speeds, including in rural areas.

Industry must partner with authorities to guarantee that citizens get the most from their connection, acquiring good digital skills, and extract maximum value for themselves from all the digital world has to offer: e-learning, e-health, future of work, smart manufacturing, smart cities etc. And those with advanced digital skills will also be better informed about disinformation related to connectivity.  Again, trust plays an important role in combatting disinformation which has ‘real world’ effects such as the sabotage of 5G masts, putting 5G roll-out on hold.

If the economic benefits from a digitally-advanced ecosystem are in doubt, a report released in February, Digitalisation: An opportunity for Europe, shows how increased digitalisation of Europe’s services and value chains over the next six years could boost the European Union’s GDP per capita by 7.2% – equivalent to a €1 trillion increase in overall GDP.

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Trust in the Digital Decade - Making sure technology serves EU citizens

 

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