Saturday

21st Oct 2017

Kroes: WikiLeaks will increase government transparency

The WikiLeaks disclosure of US diplomatic cables highlights the need to secure networks and individuals from hackers, EU digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes has said.

At the same time, the phenomenon stresses the need for governments to be "as transparent and open as possible," which entails the "practical advantage" of reducing the amount of information that needs to be secured, she declared.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • The Dutch commissioner says transparency would reduce costs of securing data (Photo: European Parliament)

Speaking out almost three weeks after the whistleblower started publishing the leaked US cables, Ms Kroes on Thursday (16 December) during a joint US-EU cybersecurity event in Washington drew the first lessons for the EU from the Wikileaks phenomenon.

The 69-year old Dutch politician distinguished between three security incidents regarding WikiLeaks: first, the leak itself, believed to be acquired by a 22-year old US army soldier who copied all the documents onto a CD which he allegedly brought into his office to listen to pop singer Lady Gaga.

"From a cyber-security angle, this highlights the need for all organisations and individuals to protect themselves against threats to steal confidential information," Ms Kroes said.

But she also stressed the need for governments to be "as transparent and open as possible."

"I think that is an important value, but it also has a major practical advantage: it reduces the amount of information that requires special protection," the Dutch Liberal said.

On WikiLeaks being subsequently ousted from the US-basned servers and its domain name being taken down by the US company DNS, Ms Kroes asked the question if these providers "violated the terms of service" and if their location (on US soil) contributed to the decision.

"When problems arise with globally distributed services all private operators and public authorities should be able to act with some legal certainty," Ms Kroes cautiously told the US audience.

The third incident were the "hacktivist attacks" on WikiLeaks and then on sites like Amazon, Paypal and Visa in retaliation for these companies having denied service to the whistleblower. The term 'hacktivist' refers to online volunteers who allowed their computers to be used as bots - zombie computers used in mass-scale attacks which jam traffic to the website.

"A hacker called Jester mounted a denial of service (DoS) attack against the Wikileaks website. Later, in support of WikiLeaks, the group Anonymous distributed a software (LOIC) to mount voluntary distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against Visa, Paypal and governmental sites," Ms Kroes recalled.

As the number of computers used in the attacks was apparently only a few hundreds, the commissioner noted that "such attacks can be organised by just a few" and also that most of these owners voluntarily gave access to their computers.

"However, the "victim" services have also proved quite robust and agile, which demonstrates the resilience of the cloud architectures we have in place," she said.

As a consequence, the EU was now looking at criminalising the setting up of botnets and attacking information systems, she said. Also, the commission was aiming at rendering more effective justice and police cooperation in the cyber-area.

Meanwhile, in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has finally left police custody, after his bail was approved following the rejection of a Swedish appeal. While Swedish prosecutors are pursuing an alleged sexual abuse case, US authorities are also mounting a spying case against him, his lawyers said.

Investigation

The mysterious German behind Orban's Russian deals

Klaus Mangold, a German businessman with good connections in Russia, and who provided a jet for Commission vice-president Guenther Oettinger, played a crucial role in Hungary's controversial Paks nuclear deal with Russia, Direkt36's investigation has found.

Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift

EU leaders at their summit spent some three hours deliberating on relations with Turkey before asking the EU commission to come up with a plan on cutting and reorienting some €4.5 billion in pre-accession aid.

Agenda

Posted workers top EU agenda This Week

The posted workers file will be on the table of ministers and MEPs this week, while budget, journalism, Schengen and party funding are also on the EP's plenary menu.

Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift

EU leaders at their summit spent some three hours deliberating on relations with Turkey before asking the EU commission to come up with a plan on cutting and reorienting some €4.5 billion in pre-accession aid.

News in Brief

  1. Rajoy to trigger Article 155 on Saturday in Catalan crisis
  2. EU conducts unannounced inspection of German car firm
  3. Lithuania calls for new EU energy laws
  4. EU leaders aim for December for defence cooperation
  5. Juncker says hands tied on Russia pipeline
  6. Czechs set to elect billionaire Andrej Babis
  7. Italian regions hold referendums on more autonomy
  8. EU leaders refuse to mediate Catalonia conflict

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Friends of ArmeniaEU Engagement Could Contribute to Lasting Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
  2. UNICEFViolence in Myanmar Driving up to 12,000 Rohingya Refugee Children Into Bangladesh Every Week
  3. European Jewish CongressEJC Applauds the Bulgarian Government for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  4. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  5. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  8. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  9. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  10. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  11. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  12. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People

Latest News

  1. The mysterious German behind Orban's Russian deals
  2. Mogherini urged to do more on Russian propaganda
  3. Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift
  4. Posted workers top EU agenda This Week
  5. Leaders lobby to host EU agencies at summit's margins
  6. Legal tweak could extend EU control on Russia pipeline
  7. Ukraine language law does not harm minorities
  8. EU begins preparations for Brexit trade talks