Prof. Dr. Björn Ottersten, Director of Luxembourg University's Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT), has been appointed 'Digital Champion of Luxembourg' by François Biltgen, Minister for Higher Education and Research. As digital champion, Mr. Ottersten has been charged with advising Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, on ways in which to promote a digital society.
Every EU member state was called upon to designate a single individual as its digital champion. As renowned experts in the field of information and communication technology (ICT), these digital champions have been given the task of developing and implementing a strategy on ways in which to get their respective countries to go digital, with the ultimate goal being to get every single EU citizen Internet access, develop their digital skills, as well as, promote ICT security, reliability and trust.
The economy of the future is a digital one. Already, it has become difficult to think of a profession that does not require familiarity with computers and the Internet. The time when 90% of all jobs will require some level of digital literacy is now not far off.
The official position taken by the European Commission, which has recognized the potential inherent in this development, is echoed by Commissioner Neelie Kroes in a recent blog entry: 'If we can get every single European to go digital […] we will soon discover that this investment really pays off. For one, getting in touch with people via the Internet makes it cheaper and easier for public officials to reach out to citizens – total e-government savings across the EU could potentially amount to an impressive €30 billion annually. As well, in a few short years' time, pretty much every company – from small start-ups to big multinational corporations – will be looking at the regional digital skills market before deciding on where to set up shop' (http://blogs.ec.europa.eu/neelie-kroes/digital-champions/).
Only 12% of Internet users report feeling safe while making online transactions
Their first meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria, last September, gave the digital champions a chance to outline their future activities pursuant to the directives set forth by the 'Digital Agenda for Europe' with the goal of helping countries overcome existing connectivity gaps at the national and regional levels. At the meeting, the champions made a commitment to making education, the digital setting for start-ups, public data sharing, as well as, security, reliability and trust – all of them major ICT challenges – their top priorities.
According to the latest statistics, a mere 12% of European Internet users report feeling completely safe while making online transactions. Threats like malware and Internet fraud still make consumers uneasy. "At the level of the European Union and of the individual member states, major efforts are needed to help overcome these deficiencies," explains Björn Ottersten. "We are very proud of the fact that Minister Biltgen has given SnT the chance to contribute our expertise as well as our scientific experience to this process."
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