VOST Europe, represented by VOST Portugal, attended the EU-HYBNET 3rd Future Trends Workshop and EU-HYBNET 3rd Annual Workshop held in Bucharest, Romania on April 19th and 20th, 2023, as a network member. The workshops were centred around the theme of “Hybrid Threats in the EU Neighbourhood – Implications for the future of EU security,” and a wide range of subjects were discussed.
During the workshop, VOST Europe gave a presentation on the work done under the Crisis Response Subgroup of the Permanent Task Force of the Code of Practice on Disinformation. The presentation focused on the relationship between the subgroup and hybrid threats, as well as the relationship between the two and the Digital Services Act.
One of the major topics discussed during the workshop was the detection of weak signals and vulnerabilities to improve foresight capability in areas such as data analytics for social network intelligence, individual profiling based on algorithmic predictions enabled by AI, NBIC (neurological, biological, information and cognitive sciences) innovations and findings, and cyber and future technologies. These topics were discussed in the context of monitoring and analysing attempts to manipulate civil societies in the digital environment, such as interference practices during crises, building resilience to fake news, sentiments monitoring among the population, collaborative resilience (cyber and information environment), and increasing civilian engagement in crisis management methods/techniques to understand the impacts of protest actions and movements on national politics and geopolitics.
The discussions also included information and strategic communication, education and training for building resilience to disinformation and FIMI (foreign information manipulation and interference), enhancing fact-checking and argument checking with AI technologies online (from pre-bunking to criminalisation), and anticipatory, strategic, and warning intelligence against hostile influencing in the information environment.
The EU-HYBNET workshops are a part of the European Union’s efforts to address hybrid threats, which are defined as “coordinated and synchronised action that deliberately targets democratic states and institutions, exploiting vulnerabilities in multiple areas to achieve specific objectives while remaining below the threshold of conventional conflict.” The workshops bring together experts from academia, government, and the private sector to discuss the latest trends in hybrid threats and ways to mitigate their impact.