Civil Society Days 2018 – Workshop 3 – Cybersecurity and data protection: at the service of the general interest

This year’s Civil Society Days will take place right after the plenary session at which the European Economic and Social Committee celebrates its 60th anniversary.

The focus of this Civil Society Days will be on fostering the current debate about the future of Europe and on highlighting the role across Europe of the civil society organisations which come together in the EESC to represent “Europe at work”.
In line with this twofold emphasis, the CivSocDays 2018 will address Europe at work in relation to a dimension which has permeated our everyday working and living environment and will affect and shape our future, as well as the future of Europe: the digital world.

The digital revolution has already started to define the way that society as a whole operates and is living together. Are we still masters of digital tools or are they already our masters, altering our values, our perceptions, and our cultures?
What direction are we going in? How do we want our societies to evolve using these new technologies in a way that benefits us?
Civil society organisations have a crucial role to play when it comes to defending our values, our rights and our democracy, and thus in reflecting on and discussing other fundamental societal questions.

Against this background, the six interactive workshops will take a closer look at how citizenship, democracy and culture can develop and be promoted in a digitalised Europe. AEDH, together with the European Civic Forum and the EESC TEN section, are organising workshop 3 on ‘Cybersecurity and data protection: at the service of the general interest’


Moderator: Pierre Jean Coulon, EESC Member, President of the Section for Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and the Information Society (TEN)

16:00     Introduction

16:15/ 1. Fundamental rights

  • New technologies, new challenges for strengthening EU data protection
    Report of the European European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
    Mario Oetheimer, Head of Sector Information Society, Privacy and Data Protection
  • Corporate surveillance (title tbc)
    Chris Wyllie,  Cambridge Analytica (tbc)
  • Better workers’ online protection (title tbc)
    Jan Albrecht, MEP (tbc) / Solidar (tbc) / EESC Member (tbc)

17:00/ 2. European sovereignty

  • “Cybersecurity act”
    Laure Batut, EESC Member, President of the EESC Study group TEN/646 Cybersecurity act
  • RGPD, c’est pour demain!
    Maryse Artiguelong, Board Member, Association Européenne pour la défense des Droits de l’Homme (AEDH)
  • Les ONG face à l’enjeu complexe de la protection des données
    Guillaume Vassault-Houlière, CEO, Yes We Hack

17:55 / Conclusions & Recommendation

  • Jan Robert Suesser, Vice President, European Civic Forum



The workshop focuses on the issue of data protection in the European Union, in a context marked by the necessary EU response to increased cyber crises and associated risks (malware, dissemination of false information, attacks on public services).

The cybersecurity package was adopted by the Commission on 13 September 2017. This package aims to give the EU the means to apply the Directive on Security of Network and Information Systems (NIS), increase the capacity of the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), create a certification framework for software and IT product cybersecurity, respond to external cyber-attacks and propose ways of fighting cybercrime.

In addition, increasing surveillance at European level and the methods employed are being developed even as the legal frameworks supposed to accompany it are gradually put in place in this rapidly-developing area; how can institutions and associations ensure due respect for fundamental rights?


Divided into 2 panels, the participants will first have the opportunity to debate and build recommendations with panelists on civil liberties and counterbalance to State and corporate surveillance, in order to preserve their fundamental rights online.

In a second time, two panelists will address the issue of European sovereignty in the digital competition. Both panels will take place in a classical format, with interventions from the speakers and inputs from the audience. A moderator will ensure the respect of the speaking time as well as the interactivity with the audience.

As an ice-breaker, the organisers will screen a short extract from the documentary NOTHING TO HIDE, as a preliminary introduction. (48:01 à 54:39)

After the presentations and questions, the participants and speakers will split into two groups, in order to draw a key recommendation from each panel, which will be then included in the final recommendations of the Civil Society Days.

Expected output

The objective is to identify one or two key recommendations. These recommendations will be proposed for inclusion in the list which will be formally adopted in follow-up to the Civil Society Days by the Liaison Group between the EESC and the civil society organizations.

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