The European Union, whose member nations are increasingly the targets of terrorism, is turning to Israel to detect terrorism and prevent attacks.
Members of the European Union see Israeli cyber technology as a vital tool for detecting potential independent assailants behind such incidents as last week’s attack in Nice, a senior EU official said at an intelligence conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.
“How do you capture some signs of someone who has no contact with any organization, is just inspired and started expressing some kind of allegiance? It’s a challenge,” Gilles de Kerchove, EU counter-terrorism coordinator, told Reuters.
Kerchove said he hopes automated detectors will be created to sift through and analyze online content for suspicious activity. He sees Israel as a potential partner in advancing this technology. "We know Israel has developed a lot of capability in cyber," he said.
Israeli security agencies in the last year have focused on social media accounts in order to pre-emptively detect the growing number of street attacks by Palestinians, many of them individuals with no affiliation to larger militarized groups, Reuters reported.
The use of such early-detection methods may prove more difficult in Europe, because many countries’ civil rights laws protect citizens’ right to privacy. In January 2012, the European Commission proposed reforms to the regulation and protection of personal data that went into effect earlier this year.
These reforms are designed to “give citizens back control of their personal data,” according to an article published by the European Commission Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers.
In order to gain advance warnings from private posts on social media without “big data” government initiatives, Israeli intelligence minister Yisrael Katz recommended increased cooperation with Internet providers.
"What is needed is an international organization, preferably headed by the United States, where shared concerns need to be defined, characterized," he said.