Good morning, I’m delighted to be here with you.
I would like to start like this.
Here is my phone.
It is over 100,000 times more powerful than the computer that sent the Apollo 11 to the moon.
It’s a miracle of technology.
And criminals also have these phones.
Criminals use our most modern technology to commit the worst kind of crimes. Violence. Child sexual abuse. Murder.
We must give law enforcement the tools to fight these crimes.
Last week, gangsters gunned down Dutch crime reporter Peter R. De Vries in Amsterdam. Known as a fighter against organised crime.
Police caught the suspects within the hour.
They found and stopped the getaway car. Thanks to security cameras and automated number plate recognition. Thanks to a combination of tried and tested so called “old – fashioned” policing and technological innovation.
To fight crime and protect our borders, we must fight digital crimes and harness technology.
And that is the mission of the innovation hub.
The hub is a bridge between scientific innovation and every day policing and border management.
The hub can help us to find practical ways, to fight the three biggest threats facing our society right now. Terrorism, organised crime and child sexual abuse.
In the last year, I launched strategies to fight all of these threats.
And we need law enforcement innovation to fight all of these crimes.
Because at least 85 per cent of evidence is now digital. To catch and convict criminals, police needs lawful access to that evidence.
This Thursday, I will meet ministers of Justice and Home Affairs and discuss policy.
We will need the hub, to make progress on technology.
When it comes to technology, we face three key challenges.
The first is the cross border nature of digital crime. Police need timely access to evidence across borders to fight crime and terrorism.
I’m happy to say we are making progress in the negotiations between Parliament and Council on our e-evidence proposal.
The second is encryption.
You and I use encryption to shop online, bank online, to protect our medical data.
Criminals abuse encryption in ransomware attacks; holding people and companies hostage by hacking their computers and encrypting their data. The successful operation against Double VPN – a service used for ransomware – shows we can fight this crime.
Criminals abuse encryption to hide their crimes. By using encrypted phones and messaging apps to plot drug deals, violence and murders.
Supported by Europol, law enforcement delivered major blows against criminal communications networks in the last year: The Encrochat case, Sky ECC, and most recently Operation Trojan Shield.
Using a combination of traditional policing and hi-tech know-how to arrest hundreds of criminals.
This is all very good news. At the same time these successes lay bare a third challenge.
The massive volumes of data.
These operations alone gave law enforcement 200 million messages to analyse.
Reports of child sexual abuse online have increased exponentially. From 23,000 reports in 2010 to around 1 million reports in the EU last year.
That includes more than 4 million images and videos last year. And half a million newly produced – rapes going on – images and videos. Of children being sexually abused.
The volumes are immense and so is the suffering.
In the German state North Rhine Westphalia the Criminal Office had to investigate around 3000 Terabytes of child sexual abuse material last year.
To investigate this data, they estimated it would take one police officer more than 2000 years to do.
Europol has a database of nearly 60 million of these images and videos. At the moment only about 20 per cent of images can be processed.
Meaning around 50 million images and videos cannot be investigated.
Meaning raped children can’t be saved and predators can’t be stopped
Just last week we achieved a major success.
Parliament and Council adopted emergency legislation I proposed. Legislation that creates legal clarity for companies, allowing them to continue to detect and report child sexual abuse material for the next three years.
As an immediate result of this adoption, Facebook decided to resume the detection of child sexual abuse material.
I will soon present proposals for permanent legislation. Because the fight against child sexual abuse is my number one priority.
Artificial intelligence helps to rescue children.
Algorithms can identify child sexual abuse online in millions of files. So companies can report and remove them.
AI helps to catch criminals. Remember those 200 million messages I just mentioned, identified in police operations? Artificial Intelligence helped to analyse those messages.
We need to protect children, and fundamental rights.
The Commission’s new Framework on Artificial Intelligence paves the way for an AI that puts people first. Protects people and their rights.
And I need the hub to develop the practical tools law enforcement can use.
So I am glad Artificial Intelligence is also on your agenda today.
We support law enforcement innovation, in my proposals
For example by boosting the mandate of Europol, to strengthen its role in research and innovation. So Europol can help to find the gaps in research, that Member States cannot reach on their own. Can support the development of Artificial Intelligence tools needed by law enforcement.
And the Commission supports innovation through our EU budget – Horizon Europe, already mentioned by my colleague Mariya Gabriel
In previous years we supported development of automated border crossings and surveillance systems to protect critical infrastructure.
This year and next, Horizon Europe sets aside more than 400 million euro for research that directly supports the Commission work programme. For example on fighting disinformation and fake news, online identity theft and domestic and sexual violence.
For the entire budgetary period, it’s 1.3 billion.
We will present a strategy on security research, by the end of the year.
But today we are here at this important workshop.
Where we will see the first results of your work.
Work on darknet monitoring. The Entry Exit system. And artificial intelligence.
I expect a lot from you!
The Innovation Hub could help us to tackle big data on a big scale: a continental scale.
It connects the innovative power of our agencies and Member States.
In short, the hub gathers the best brains in Europe on law enforcement innovation.
And many of you are here today.
I will count on you, to help identify modern applications.
To fight criminals, terrorists and child abusers.
And to put the Commission’s strategies in practice.
But also to alert us to new technology threats and new technology opportunities.
After all, you are the experts.
We count on you.