Event

Countering Foreign Information Manipulation and Interference (FIMI)

For a decade, the influence and impact of external interference in Europe’s discourse and media have been increasingly concerning risks.

Since Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, European states have become conscious and aware of the dangers posed by disinformation, misinformation and fake news spreading across social media and online news outlets. We’ve seen examples of disinformation campaigns, such as those related to election meddling in various EU member states, fake news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic and false accusations about the negative impacts of 5G systems. All these cases demonstrate the serious impact of interference on public opinion and policy.

Defining FIMI:

“The EEAS defines FIMI as a pattern of behaviour that threatens or has the potential to negatively impact values, procedures and political processes. Such activity is manipulative in character, conducted in an intentional and coordinated manner. Actors of such activity can be state or non-state actors, including their proxies inside and outside of their own territory.”

Much has been done to counteract the challenges, as described in the European Union’s External Action Service (EEAS) recent update, there have been several key actions to strengthen Europe’s position, such as:

  • structures like the Rapid Alert System (RAS) on disinformation to enable joint activities with other EU institutions and the Member States;
  • comprehensive framework and methodology for systematic collection of evidence of FIMI incidents – where we are leading the effort to build a true defender community facilitated by an Information Sharing and Analysis Centre (FIMI ISAC);
  • in addition, the EEAS, in close cooperation with the European Commission and the Member States, is continuously strengthening the EU’s Toolbox to tackle FIMI (FIMI Toolbox), to impose costs on the perpetrators.

EEAS Responses to Foreign Information Manipulation and Interference (FIMI)

However, with shifting political power in Europe, the focus on combating foreign interference and disinformation has intensified. The European Parliament and the European Commission have emphasised the need for robust strategies to protect electoral integrity. Measures include raising public awareness about disinformation risks, enhancing media literacy, and coordinating with national regulatory bodies across member states. These actions aim to empower citizens to recognise and counteract manipulative information tactics, thereby safeguarding democratic processes against external threats.

Considering the evolving landscape of technology and the rise of AI, specifically generative AI and the use of large language models (LLMs), as used with tools like ChatGPT, actors with malevolent intent can create highly convincing fake content with increased productivity, boosting the output of malicious content.

Europe’s Current Position

Is Europe prepared and ready to respond to these challenges? What work is currently been done to address these challenges? These questions and more were the topics for the second iteration of the ‘Countering Foreign Interference Dialogues Conference’, taking place in Florence on Monday 24th and Tuesday 25th of June.

The Polish Platform for Homeland Security was attending the event being eager to understand what is unfolding in this space, and how societies can respond to address the concerns. PPHS actively participates in the Pan-European EU-HYBNET Network, an EU-funded project looking at the full gamut of hybrid threats and the innovations required to respond to the gaps and needs of practitioners.

Back in 2022, the project released a Policy Brief related to Information Manipulation and Interference (IMI) challenges. The document positioned the following recommendations:

  • Develop an IMI taxonomy
  • Develop standards for IMI information exchange
  • Develop a distributed networking solution for IMI information sharing and analysis
  • Initiate research and development in the area of automatic and / or semi-automatic IMI analysis tools.
  • Initiate an EU task force investigating how to build trust between private and public sector stakeholders

We look forward to learning how Europe is responding to address the suggested actions.

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SHIELD4CROWD has received funding from the European Union's Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101121171

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    Przemysław Dobrzyński

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    I’ve worked at PPHS since November 2017. For a long time I was responsible for the both international and national security projects implementation. Due to the development of PPHS and founding of the Communication Department, I was promoted to the strictly communication-related position.

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    I’ve worked at PPHS since November 2017. For a long time I was responsible for the both international and national security projects implementation. Due to the development of PPHS and founding of the Communication Department, I was promoted to the strictly communication-related position.

    Currently, I’m the Communication & Dissemination Manger in the EU-funded PREVENT PCP and SAFE-CITIES projects in the area of security. Also, my responsibilities include managing the online channels administrated by PPHS and supporting the team in ongoing tasks.

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