The SOURCE Network of Excellence on societal security organized a sector survey meeting with high-ranking experts from different fields at the VUB on 5 June 2014. About 20 invited representatives from different professions and institutions, including partners of the SOURCE consortium discussed a number of security problems and solutions, following a structured approach of decision support for security solutions, based on the DESSI method.
Working on two scenarios (security in public transport and migration into the EU across the Mediterranean Sea) industry representatives, researchers, policy makers, civil society representatives and end users analysed a number of options, bringing their sector-specific expertise into the discussion.
Applying this innovative approach to the solution of security problems yielded a number of highly relevant insights. Given a specific security problem, the potential and limits of technological solutions could be demonstrated. At the same time the discussion clearly showed the need for an elaborate concept of societal security: A number of seemingly well-defined security problems can be decomposed into underlying societal problems. Experts from security research and security technology development agreed that a comprehensive policy strategy is required to tackle problems that do not have a technological or administrative solution. Finally it became clear that although technology can provide solutions meeting the standards of data-protection and privacy legislation there are nonetheless a number of side effects in the long run that should be considered when approaching security problems with technology based solutions.
The chosen format of this meeting produced lively discussions and demonstrated how mutual learning effects can be achieved when bringing together representatives from different fields and backgrounds. The cognitive and normative limitations, shaped by different professional and institutional affiliations became clearly visible and mutually understandable, clearly demonstrating that decisions about solutions for security problems require a multi-professional and inter-institutional discourse.
The results of this Sector Survey meeting will be refined and validated by a survey of representatives from the involved sectors (end-users, research, policy makers, industry, civil society).
A final report of the Sector Survey meeting and the results from the survey will be available soon on the Source web portal under www.societalsecurity.net