Highlights of our work
Through its member societies, CEPIS is active in various topical fields of the digital world. Below you can find out about the latest most important initiatives and activities on a pan-European level.
CEPIS against total surveillance of digital communications in the EU
The Legal and Security Issues (LSI) expert group has produced a statement opposing the European Commission’s plans to oblige communication services providers (e-mail, messaging, video conferencing, etc.) to monitor all content, even if it is encrypted.
The regulation is pre-announced to be published before the end of 2021 or soon after. CEPIS firmly rejects this plan.
CEPIS urges the European Commission, the European Parliament and the governments of the EU member states to prevent this serious and far-reaching violation of fundamental rights. The European Parliament, in particular, is called upon to take immediate and decisive action against the Commission’s plans that are damaging to our community.
Awareness of the DigComp framework among the CEPIS community
Throughout April and May 2021, CEPIS carried out a survey among its network about the awareness of the European Digital Competence Framework for Citizens (DigComp) framework. The goal of this survey was to find out how aware the CEPIS community is about the use of the DigComp framework in their countries.
The questions were about the use of the framework by the national governments, education sector and industry. CEPIS members were also asked to name the key benefits and challenges that they saw in applying DigComp. CEPIS members are mostly aware of the government’s use of DigComp (77% of responding countries), with 50% of the surveyed countries reporting use of DigComp in the education sector, and 45% in industry.
Call on the EU to act immediately to improve digital skills
The CEPIS Digital Skills Policy (DSP) working group has produced a position paper, entitled “The European Union must act immediately to improve the level of digital skills”. The paper expresses concern about the slow progress of increasing digital skills in Europe’s population, particularly for children, older people, non-IT professionals, and the workforce. To improve the situation, the paper recommends several actions:
- Creating a Digital Skills Improvement programme at European level;
- Allocating appropriate funding to different policy targets (workforce, students, inclusion, advanced skills);
- Setting implementation goals in the Member States;
- Consistently measuring the improvement progress.
Letter to the European Commission concerning the anticipated acquisition by Nvidia of Arm’s Intellectual Property Group business
CEPIS’ Legal and Security Issues Special Interest Network (LSI SIN) has submitted a letter to the Executive Vice-President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age and Competition Margrethe Vestager and the Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton about the anticipated acquisition of Arm’s Intellectual Property Group business by Nvidia.
The group has analysed the situation and has found serious reasons for concern. LSI SIN states that allowing a microprocessor monopoly to be held by a US company within the jurisdiction of the USA will distort future innovation, increase its powers of coercion, and decrease the ability of European companies to compete.
CEPIS Statement on the European Digital Skills Certificate (EDSC)
CEPIS welcomes the announcement of the Digital Education Action Plan (DEAP), which reflects the European Commission’s commitment to tackle challenges related to digital competences.
However, we would like to seek clarification about the European Digital Skills Certificate (EDSC). The DEAP does not provide details about this action. We believe a clear guidance regarding its implementation should be shared with stakeholders. We hope the following suggestions prove useful in developing such a guidance.
CEPIS believes that the European Commission should map different digital competence certification schemes and quality assurance requirements to the DigComp framework across Europe. After successful mapping, the Commission should enable them to use the label of European Digital Skills Certificate.
CEPIS Statement on right to encryption instead of a master key for encrypted communication
CEPIS’ Legal and Security Issues Special Interest Network (LSI SIN) calls for the rejection of a planned resolution in the Council of Ministers, which would grant authorities special access to encrypted communication between EU citizens. The special access, or ‘master key’, will weaken end-to-end encryption, and endangers digitisation in Europe, the LSI network warns: “The initiative endangers not only the informational self-determination of EU citizens but also the protection of company and business secrets. Undermining the efforts towards legally binding corporate communication by weakening encryption, is ultimately hindering the necessary digitalisation of the European economy.”
CEPIS response to the Digital Education Action Plan update roadmap
In response to the European Commission’s public consultation on the Digital Education action plan (DEAP) update, CEPIS, with contributions of our Computing in Schools expert group, has submitted its views on the matter. CEPIS considers that the updated DEAP should increase the digital capacity and make efforts to distribute EU funds in a way that would favour ensuring equal access to the necessary resources for all children and teachers.
CEPIS is convinced that DEAP should focus strongly on increasing digital skills of the educators and push for the inclusion of digital competences for 21st century in the school curricula. This should be connected with some form of certification proving the achieved results of pupils and the same principle should be applied in lifelong learning with the aim of increasing the digital competence of the workforce. If remote/blended teaching and learning is to become the new norm in formal education (both for new pandemic wave and for remote learning for children not present due to illness or other reasons in school), then different curricula and teaching methodologies must be developed to suit these models, and proper pedagogical pre-service and in-service training must be a fundamental part of this change. The quality of education should be the key priority of both the European Commission and the Member States.
CEPIS response to the “White Paper on Artificial Intelligence – a European Approach”
In response to European Commission’s public consultation on the White Paper on AI, the Information Society group has produced a series of comments. CEPIS supports the actions and opinions outlined in the White Paper, while emphasising a strong need for the increase of the level of digital skills, the need to have strict regulatory frameworks for AI technologies, and the importance of pooling resources and expertise to ensure that Europe becomes a world leader in the field.
Informatics for All Coalition
CEPIS Computing in Schools group is a founding member of Informatics for All, a coalition that aims at getting academia, industry, government and society together to influence education policy in Europe towards the full recognition and establishment of Informatics as a foundational discipline in schools. The other founding members are ACM Europe Council and Informatics Europe.