The European Commission recently proposed legislation to enable European Union countries to share information about critical infrastructure protection via a secure network.
The Critical Infrastructure Warning Information Network (CIWIN) would be a voluntary tool for EU countries and would have two major elements: a secure forum for exchanging information on things such as best practices and a rapid alert system through which countries and the EC could post information about immediate risks and threats.
“This proposal represents one of the cornerstones of the European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection and is an important step forward in creating a functioning critical infrastructure protection community in the European Union,” said Jacques Barrot, a vice president of the European Commission, the administrative arm of the EU.
The CIWIN would complement a separate EU entity named Argus that would be a focus for an EU response to emergencies. As part of the response, the EU would set up a central crisis center that would coordinate EU countries’ actions.
Unisys won a contract in 2006 to study what EU needed to do to set up cross-border crisis networks. The company also is responsible for creating a CIWIN prototype. The study concluded in January, and a CIWIN pilot program is expected to end in 2009.
Even though use of the network would be voluntary, the European Commission said 20 EU countries would need to use the network regularly before the project would be considered successful.