The European Commission is seeking feedback on how best to safeguard Europe's critical electronic networks against disruption from attack or natural disasters.
This follows a public presentation of the findings of a study which identifies a range of important issues for ensuring that future networks are sufficiently protected and resilient.
The commission said protective measures needed to be put in place to ensure that critical services and infrastructure are not vulnerable to such failures, and that there can be no "domino effect" that might result in a major technological collapse of communications and the many services they support.
"Communication and information infrastructures are the nervous system of our modern society," said Viviane Reding, European commissioner for information society and media. "As our dependency on them grows, we need to do all we can to safeguard such networks. I would not like Europe to face the problems Asia had at Christmas as a consequence of an earthquake south of Taiwan."
Reding has urged businesses and communications suppliers to take part in a consultation linked to the published report.
The study carried out reports on the reliability and the robustness of Europe's critical electronic communication networks. It provides insights into the overall security of these networks, based on extensive interviews with various stakeholders, and makes 10 recommendations.
These include: emergency exercises and drills the establishment of pre-arranged priority restoration procedures the conclusion of formal mutual aid agreements between operators and service providers addressing interdependencies between the communications and other critical sectors enhancing information sharing mechanisms including cross-sector communications and the use of industry consensus best practices.
The commission is to use the consultation as part of a planned strategy to be adopted in early 2008.
Study with initial recommendations
Information security review 2006
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