Fighting crime and ensuring citizen security has become a top EU priority over the past few years. This month, we focus on some of the projects bringing the innovative technologies and concepts not only to European investigators and first responders, but also to citizens.
Towards a head start on security?
Citizen security has never been so high on the EU agenda. In fact, its well-named European Agenda on Security – which defines priorities for 2015 to 2020 – prioritises terrorism, organised crime and cybercrime as “interlinked areas with a strong cross-border dimension, where EU action can make a real difference.”
It’s a sign of the times. The past two years have shown us how terrorism was an immediate threat to our security, even within the EU’s most important capital cities. On the other hand, the shift to Web 2.0 and smart technologies is proving to be both a tremendous opportunity and a source of concern: living in a smart city is certainly reassuring from a security point of view, but it also raises concerns related to privacy and provides ill-intentioned hackers with worrying opportunities.
In the end, it is and always will be a race: one that opposes criminals on one side, to authorities, industry and involved citizens on the other side. The tools for winning this race are technological breakthroughs, innovation and cooperation/widespread adoption. Although it may seem like this issue of the research*eu Results Magazine focuses on the former aspect, it actually puts emphasis on all three.
As each project in our “special feature” section led us to conclude, technology can only make a difference when supporting valuable concepts, and cooperation/widespread adoption is key to its success. This is true for the use of virtual and mixed reality to train crime investigators, for participatory apps aiming at citizens; or even for new technologies like smart sensors, voice recognition algorithms, next-generation walkie-talkies or software for visual analytics. And each of these projects seems off to a great start, which is certainly a source of optimism.
Our usual sections on health, society, energy, environment, aquatic resources, industry, information and communication technology, security and fundamental research are also featured in this magazine – which closes with a list of upcoming events hosted by or involving EU-funded research projects.
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