The European Union’s former security commissioner, Julian King, is set to join the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) as a visiting policy fellow.
Britain’s last EU commissioner, King stepped down from his post in November as the UK prepared to officially leave the bloc in the weeks that followed.
During his three-year stint in Brussels, King focused on cyber threats, political disinformation and counter-terrorism. In his new position at the OII, he will work with Professor Philip Howard, the institute’s director, on policies concerning cyber security and disinformation.
In a statement, King said: “I look forward to working with internationally-respected scholars to help deepen our collective understanding of EU and national internet security policy, and develop appropriate standards.”
The EU has been at the forefront of digital policy-making in recent years and British politicians interested in the tech sector are concerned that Britain will now lose the ability to influence the bloc’s digital agenda.
King addressed these concerns during a select committee meeting focused on online disinformation on Wednesday (4 March). “I do think there are some advantages in [countries] working together very closely in order to coordinate your approaches to social media platforms because that does yield more results,” he told the committee.
“But I also think it would be a mistake to limit your ambitions for such cooperation only to countries that happen to members of the European Union, because the like-minded community that face these common challenges goes wider than that.”
However, Smith conceded that the UK may no longer be able to influence the kind of regulation that emerges from the discussions. “The extent to which the UK might be able to plug into that kind of activity will depend on the outcome of the negotiations on the future relationship that have only just started,” he said.
Prior to working for the Commission, King served in a number of senior government roles, including as ambassador to France and Ireland and director general of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Northern Ireland Office.
Other members of the OII’s visiting policy fellowship programme, which fellows or their employers pay for, include include Tata Consultancy Service’s corporate affairs director Jim Bligh, Deloitte’s chief digital officer Conrad Young and Vodafone’s consumer regulation chief Lisa Felton.
OII’s Howard said: “We are delighted to welcome Julian to Oxford. His knowledge and experience in shaping international policy, most recently in the field of cyber security, will bring fresh insights to how we study the impact of technology and shape regulatory guidance in the field of internet security.”