The Lisbon Strategy's aim is to make the EU ‘the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion, and respect for the environment by 2010'.
Europe’s digital future: the challenges ahead
It highlights the need for Europe to play a leading role in innovation and focuses on better policies for the information society facilitating the transition to a knowledgebased economy, stepping up the process of structural reform for innovation and competitiveness, an upgrade in the necessary investment in R&D, and the reduction of red tape in the promotion of entrepreneurship, growth and jobs.
In line with the strong innovation thread of the Lisbon Strategy, Microsoft designed Innovation Day around the concept that global businesses, governments, academia and start-ups can work together on innovation and promote the already existing talent in the ICT sector and software economy in Europe.
Panel discussion: The Digital Lifestyle has arrived. Is Europe ready?
Speaking at the 4th Innovation Day in Brussels in December 2007, Jean- Philippe Courtois, President of Microsoft International, in reference to the key value-added measures laid out by the Lisbon Strategy, made the point that although Europe may count 7 of the 10 leading countries in ICT, contributing 25% of GDP, technological breakthroughs bring serious security implications for an online digital lifestyle. While the Lisbon Strategy is key in highlighting the role of innovation in the future of Europe, the panel discussion at the event chose to look at the issue from a different angle. Through a lively panel discussion that focused largely on the online gaming community, high level stakeholders debated the issues surrounding technological advances and rising security risks in the new digital age.
Gaming highlights one of the modern world's biggest security issues: child safety. How do people protect their children from the virtual world of the internet?
Two main points were made: Robbie Bach, President Microsoft Entertainment and Devices and Alexander Alvaro of the European Parliament both spoke of the essential need for parents to have the tools to be able to manage how their children are interacting with content and entertainment online; and that grading systems which allow parents to judge the appropriateness of games available to their children would only work if they adhere to a common standard already in place for companies such as Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo and Playstation.
Innovation Day exhibition
These issues of online child exploitation were not only discussed, but the new technologies developed to combat such crimes displayed in an exhibition accompanying the event; amongst others, the Child Exploitation Tracking System – CETS.
Microsoft worked in collaboration with international law enforcement agencies to develop the system so that police agencies could communicate in real-time and work together in the investigation of online child exploitation.
The system is now being implemented across Europe, with Romania becoming the latest EU country to sign up. And the programme's success can be directly judged by more arrests and convictions against people who try and use the Internet to lure or harm children.
In a broader keynote address, former Vice President and European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security Franco Frattini focused on the challenges of new technologies and the issues they raise in relation to cyber crime, and most importantly child protection, saying: “Cybercrime and child abuse have sadly become common crimes. However, technology can also help us to tackle problems. Cybercrime comes in many forms, but one of the biggest issues it raises is that of child safety.”
Jean-Philippe Courtois, President Microsoft International (left); Franco Frattini, former Vice-President and Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security (centre) and Robbie Bach, President of Microsoft Entertainment and Devices (right)
Mr Frattini emphasised the important role of education in the fight against cyber crime. New technology leads to a constantly evolving situation, but can also have a role to play in fighting cyber crime. Mr Frattini highlighted the importance the Commission places on Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs) saying that the Commission “will provide money for data protection and privacy projects, studies on PETs' economic benefits and standards for using PETs.”
“We are committed to building critical partnerships with others to help Europe meet its most important goals,” concluded Jean-Philippe Courtois. “It has become evident that technology plays an increasing role in accelerating economic growth and promoting development.”
After debating some of the key points of the Lisbon Strategy at Innovation Day, Microsoft takes the next step in the challenge to make Europe a leading knowledge economy at the upcoming SME Day. In its fourth year, the event on the future of Entrepreneurship in Europe will highlight some of the points raised by Mr. Manuel Pinho, Portuguese Minister of Economy and Innovation, at Innovation Day.
Four particular areas were mentioned during the Minister's keynote address which will be debated on June 12th in Brussels; namely the need to reduce the burden of administrative costs for SMEs; improving skills; facilitating SME access to the external market; and promoting modernisation and technology.
Find out more about SME Day at www.smeday.eu.