Willem Bantema and Jurjen Jansen inaugurated as professors of applied sciences

Jurjen Jansen en Willem Bantema

On Tuesday, Dr Willem Bantema and Dr Jurjen Jansen were officially inaugurated by the Executive Board of NHL Stenden as professors of applied sciences at the Cybersafety research group. Bantema as professor of applied sciences in 'Governance in a Digitizing Society', and Jansen as professor of applied sciences in 'Digital Resilience of People and Organizations'.

During the inauguration, they spoke in their abbreviated inaugural lectures on the importance of a digitally secure society. In their speeches, Jansen and Bantema addressed issues such as: how do we increase the digital resilience of citizens? Which security challenges do public administrators face in the digital domain? And what is the role and competence of mayors in online law enforcement?

The role of government in a digitizing society

Bantema focuses on how public authorities can effectively anticipate and contribute to security in a digitizing society. "In the past two years, it has become clear that the online and offline worlds have become strongly intertwined. Society and technology are evolving faster than public administration and the law. This can put social values, such as privacy and freedom of speech, under pressure. And that leads to frictions."

In addition to outlining the regulatory security challenges concerning digitalisation, Bantema also calls for more attention to mayoral powers in online enforcement and alerting. "There is currently a lot of focus on powers and what can and cannot be done but more research and attention is needed on other options, for example through communication, and on the effectiveness of modes of approach. New technological developments bring new risks but also offer public administrators opportunities to design their policies, enforcement and services more intelligently."

A positive human approach in digital security

Jansen stressed the social importance of preventing digital incidents as much as possible and reducing their impact. "We don't do this by completely shutting down all systems. A certain degree of openness remains necessary if we want to benefit from digitization. Therefore, the answer to these challenges is not to be found in taking more complex, technical measures, but in digital resilience. Digital resilience includes organisational and human aspects in addition to technical ones."

Jansen focuses his research mainly on the human aspects. "We need to recognise that the role of people in digital security is a crucial one. People need to be put more at the centre and treated as a potentially strong link that contributes to the solution." Jansen also stresses that digital security is the responsibility of all of us. "A holistic approach and collaboration are key to adequate digital resilience: combating digital threats requires a joint effort by individuals, businesses, authorities and society as a whole."