policy-2PICASSO is based on the work of three thematic working groups and one horizontal working group whose primary objective is to provide a map of challenges and gaps, open problems and needs for orienting future policies and strategic EU-US collaboration initiatives, both policy and research-related. The three thematic groups focus on Big Data; 5G Networks; Internet of Things and Cyber-physical Systems (IoT/CPS); the horizontal working group focuses on Policy issues related to the three themes. Each group is chaired by a EU consortium partner, and co-chaired by a US specialist and includes a number of prominent experts from the EU and the US, mainly coming from H2020 and US-funded industry-driven projects and ICT associations, EU and US networks and PPPs, as well as renown experts from industry and Research and Development institutions. Each of these groups will be presented in a number of our Newsletter, starting with the Policy Working Group.

Maarten Botterman – Chair


GNKS, PIR Chairman, IGF DC IoT, NLnet

Dr David Farber – Co-Chair


Carnegie Mellon University, IEEE fellow, ACM fellow

Current work: actually focusing on privacy and data protection
Future perspectives: network security; standardisation; spectrum.

How policy and regulation issues can affect EU-US ICT collaboration?

Technological developments and their possible application to daily life affect the economic/commercial dimension, as well as the societal and personal dimension, and they can rise a series of concerns and open questions in terms of legal requirements and right protection. These issues might eventually result either in legal or technical restrictions, or in rules adaptations and social norms’ evolution. The role of policy reflection and intervention in order to solve and mitigate the challenges posed by technological developments is therefore crucial. Policy is called to orientate the legal framework, preventing any possible right infringement (in particular, person rights) while encouraging and unleashing the economic and market potential inherent to technologies. This type of reflection is even more important when we are speaking about a collaborative and evolving ICT technological scenario across the Atlantic, where different legal frameworks, taxonomies, definitions and principles apply.

The topics that have been identified for analysis by the PICASSO Policy Expert group as more sensitive and impactful for the development of a growing EU-US collaboration in matters of Big Data, IoT/CPS and 5G network are: privacy and data protection; network security; standardisation; spectrum. On these issues, a series of thematic policy briefs will be produced in the upcoming months. Additionally, the group might further explore policy issues focusing on the more complex and holistic level of “Smart Cities”.

The expert groups in the technology domains and the policy expert group interact closely so that policy issues that are relevant for the technology domains and the societal challenges can be addressed in a focused way and that overarching policy issues are considered in the technical discussions from the start, and also are taken into account in the measures to stimulate the policy dialogue in these areas.

Outcomes of the first discussion: Policy paper on privacy and data protection

During its first meeting on 20th May 2016 in Washington DC, hosted by NIST, the PICASSO Policy Expert group discussed Privacy and Data Protection issues affecting ICT collaboration across the Atlantic. It emerged that privacy and data protection, besides being important topics in their own right, affect many different sectors, impacting on negotiation and rulemaking on trade, freedom of information, digital rights, intellectual property and financial services. With particular reference to the transatlantic dimension and the specific PICASSO technological domains (5G networks, Big Data and IoT/CPS), privacy and data protection feature prominently in the evolving (or disintegrating) arrangements regarding corporate and government personal data processing (collection, storage, processing, access etc.).

A solid framework for collaboration would need, therefore, to fully reflect our shared democratic and individual rights-based values, expressed on the EU side by the Lisbon Treaty and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and on the U.S. side by the U.S. Constitution. At the same time, collaboration frameworks shall inevitably reflect the differences that enrich our interaction. To do this, fundamental questions need to be answered to understand the real scope of the challenges to collaboration in these areas. For example, in what sense can we say that we have, want, or need privacy?

Also, we have witnessed massive disclosures and debates on the level and kind of surveillance that is “proportional”. Furthermore, it is clear that the Internet (and many information systems) today is not build to be secure, let alone secure in operation. This raises the questions: is security always a good thing, and what can we do when things are not secure? For instance: over-reliance on system security may lead to crowding out of efficient or sensible precautions which causes greater security pressures on systems and the danger of dwindling awareness of security or unbalanced consideration of risks.

The full Policy brief “Privacy and Data Protection Issues Affecting EU-US ICT Collaboration” is available on PICASSO website. Here the main conclusions we could draw from the discussion:

– Privacy and interoperability of systems are opposite sides of the same invaluable coin. Participants agreed that it would be important for industry to explicitly consider the human element from the outset when developing industrial solutions;

– The awareness of policy makers, citizens, consumers and the commercial world of what is technologically possible, economically advantageous, socially acceptable, politically viable, legally allowed and ethical could usefully be raised. It was agreed that those with important decisions to make and those most exposed to the consequences too often have only have limited insight into what is happening on the ground.

Upcoming webinar

With a view to share its vision and create a debate platform, the PICASSO Policy Expert group will share its work with the interested constituency through interactive webinars. Each webinar is anticipated by the production of a policy brief that will be made available beforehand as a food-for-thought for the discussion. Here is the calendar of upcoming events:

PICASSO has been financed with support from the European Commission. PICASSO brings together prominent specialists willing to contribute to enhancement of EU-US ICT collaboration. PICASSO does not represent EU or US policy makers, and the views put forward do not necessarily represent the official view of the European Commission or US Government on the subject. PICASSO cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of information granted.