Securing Free Communications

Electronic communications have developed into a critical utility for economic, social and cultural activity. The security of our electronic communications has thus become an issue of considerable public interest. Over the last decade, however, security incidents are increasing in both impact and quantity. While these come at substantial costs and harm for stakeholders and society in general, relevant market players may lack incentives to sufficiently address these rising levels of electronic communications vulnerability. Moreover, the Snowden revelations have illuminated that governments across the globe are committed to systematically weaken communications security. According to many, ‘cyber’ security has never been so critical, and systematically vulnerable, as today.

Against this background, the thesis examines how the European regulatory framework should protect end-user communications security. It aims to define and delineate the new concept of "communications security", inspired by historical, technical, political and fundamental rights research. It also examines if the current conceptual grounding in the conventional "communications layer model" needs to make place for so-called value-chain analysis to facilitate superior allocation of rights and responsibilities amongst communications security stakeholders. Upon completion, the project will be among the first multi-year research projects to comprehensively map and analyse the current European regulatory framework for communications security and explore rationales and criteria for regulatory intervention within this field.