We are doing science for policy
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
Surveillance systems are increasingly used to assure safety and security in Europe for example, for border control, customs and defence. Surveillance should help to ensure security, provide data robust enough for court evidence while not compromising the individuals' right to privacy and complying with privacy and data protection law.
The EU Internal Security Strategy foresees the further development of EU maritime security by continuously assessing threats and risks and by taking into account progress in security research and technology. Within the EU flagship initiative “A Digital Agenda for Europe” the EU addresses the issue of the protection of data acquired through surveillance.
The JRC carries out research in support of the Integrated Maritime Policy, and in particular the Integrated Maritime Surveillance, which deals with providing maritime surveillance authorities with ways to exchange information and data. The JRC also provides scientific and technological advice on risk analysis and container security and performs research in the area of novel intelligent, efficient and secure surveillance systems that will increase the safety and security of EU citizens without compromising their fundamental rights to privacy.
Maritime surveillance is essential for creating maritime awareness ('knowing what is happening at sea'). With its expertise in space technologies and data fusion, the JRC helps to strengthen the EU capabilities in maritime surveillance, by contributing to the development of the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) and the Common Information Sharing Environment (CISE) for the EU maritime domain, and by investigating maritime surveillance solutions e.g. in the fight against piracy off Africa.
The concept of surveillance, intended as the remote observation of people by electronic means, is changing: people are surrounded by intelligent sensors and intuitive interfaces embedded in all kinds of objects; at the same time, surveillance is becoming more and more pervasive, as security functions are increasingly embedded into systems ensuring a multitude of operations. It is evident that data protection and privacy issues will become even more important and complicated.
The JRC performs research in the area of novel intelligent, efficient and secure surveillance systems that will increase the safety and security of EU citizens without compromising their fundamental rights to privacy.
JRC's research activities aim at ensuring that societal requirements, such as privacy and security, and the corresponding legal requirements are met in the planning, design and implementation phase of surveillance systems, in particular with regard to emerging technologies and pervasive observation and monitoring systems. This includes identification of best practices, application of principles of privacy by design, compliance with data protection law, and provision of illustrative cases in practical surveillance applications.
The JRC develops open source intelligence and analysis systems that can automatically harvest and analyse a huge amount of multi-lingual information from internet-based sources. The Europe Media Monitor (EMM) open source monitoring system, developed by the JRC, provides near real-time monitoring of large sets of open source information, applying categorisation and analysing the retrieved texts to derive exra information, such as language, entities, location and tonality. The system has been applied to monitoring in domains including health, crisis, management and security.