The EU’s Rapid Alert System: What are the Results?

The “Rapid Alert System” was introduced earlier in the year to help connect authorities in all 28 member states and exchange information on disinformation. But according to this system, authorities in the EU say they haven’t detected any large-scale campaigns this year.

The system shares everything including reports, analysis, and any disinformation incidents with the 140 people working on the project. In addition, it has a built-in alert feature to deal with large-scale campaigns similar to the 2016 US presidential elections.

A European Commission official said in a statement: “It does not mean necessarily that they are totally absent. It is true that we have not triggered this alert so far but this is of course is due to the threshold that we define, so ‘transnational significant impact’.”

The tool has been praised by others, including a security official from the ministry of foreign affairs in Latvia, who said: “We support the rapid alert system but I think it is going to evolve into a very useful system of information exchange for people who are in charge for monitoring disinformation.”

And these comments were echoed by Finland’s ministry of foreign affairs, with director Vesa Hakkinen saying: “Finland has not issued any alerts and it is because […] we haven’t seen any bigger phenomenon, or any campaigns against Finland during the months that we have had the system in place.”

Finland is one of several countries to have been targeted by campaigns in the past. However, Finland, along with the other nordic countries have become increasingly resilient to these threats by setting up operations run by specialists and agencies.

This is part of larger attempts by the EU to crackdown on online disinformation. As part of these plans, the EU has set up a code of conduct, which has now been signed by Facebook, Google, Twitter, Mozilla, Microsoft, and other major tech companies.

Julian King, the European commissioner for security, said in a statement: “Progress varies a lot between signatories and the reports provide little insight on the actual impact of the self-regulatory measures taken over the past year as well as the mechanisms for independent scrutiny.”

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