The European Union is placing IT at the heart of its fight against terrorism, with plans aimed at broadening the exchange of information between law enforcement agencies across the continent.
The plans, due to be finalised this week, include a database holding details of terrorist suspects and the creation of a central “clearing house” allowing law enforcement, judicial authorities and intelligence services to exchange information.
At a meeting of the EU Council of Justice and Home Affairs, which was called following the Madrid terror attacks, ministers said the exchange of information should be “dramatically improved”.
“A certain culture of secrecy, understandable only at first sight, has proven extremely counter-productive,” the EU said. “Comprehensive and interoperable European information systems should be developed.”
For example, ministers said, the tracing and checking of dangerous goods and explosives should be made possible by creating new databases or upgrading existing databases with new functionalities, as well as making full use of advanced technologies such as satellite network Galileo and RFID.
All this action needs to be underpinned by a reprioritisation of research resources by focusing on security matters, in particular interoperability, the EU said.
The present amount of £44m devoted to security-related research is “woefully inadequate”, it admitted.