European Union to Extend the Life of Its Internet Security Agency

By Matthew Harwood

European Union lawmakers will probably extend the life of its Internet security agency as worries rise over cyberattacks, but some lawmakers argue the agency, as presently constituted, can not handle that duty, reports Reuters.

The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) began in 2004 and was slated to end in March 2009, but EU states want to extend its life for three more years.  The EU assembly's industry committee has agreed to to the extension so long as the agency's role is reconfigured.

According to its Web site, "ENISA's mission is to achieve a high and effective level of Network and Information Security within the European Union." Some lawmakers question whether the agency can handle combating cyberattacks such as the one that crippled member state Estonia last spring.

"ENISA is not able to do all that is necessary to guarantee our security," said  German liberal Alexander Alvaro. "Member states have throttled it. It only has 50 staff with half doing administration."

Alvaro, and others like him, would like to see a new, more powerful agency created that has the staff necessary to repel large scale cyberattacks.

Reuters reports ENISA's three-year extension has majority support within the EU parliament and should be endorsed sometime in June or July.


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