MEMBERS OF THE European Parliament have reached a milestone by signing off the first cyber security rules for the European Union in the form of the Network and Information Security Directive.
The rules ask much of firms like Amazon and Google and will encourage them to be more open about security problems, data breaches and the like. The European Parliament reckons the rules will help protect the EU's essential infrastructure, such as air and road traffic control systems and the electricity grid, from cyber attack as well as safeguard digital services, with the likes of eBay and Amazon specifically mentioned in the legislation.
"Today, a milestone has been achieved [told you]: we have agreed on the first ever EU-wide cyber-security rules, which the Parliament has advocated for years," said a clearly delighted Parliament rapporteur Andreas Schwab.
"Parliament has pushed hard for a harmonised identification of critical operators in energy, transport, health or banking fields, which will have to fulfill security measures and notify significant cyber incidents. Member states will have to cooperate more on cybersecurity - which is even more important in light of the current security situation in Europe."
That worrying "security situation" extends beyond Europe to the US, and in the past couple of days we have seen both President Obama and President of Alphabet Eric Schmidt urge the tech community to do more to help combat cyber baddies.
The European Parliament has long pressed for cloud services to be included in the legislation, pointed out Schwab. "Moreover, this directive marks the beginning of platform regulation," he said.
"Whilst the Commission's consultation on online platforms is still on-going, the new rules already foresee concrete definitions - a request that Parliament had made since the beginning in order to give its consent to the inclusion of digital services."
As a directive, these rules cannot be imposed on EU member states but rather will have to be reflected by new or amended legislation passed by individual EU national parliaments.
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