Senior Eurocrat praises the net

David Weinberger sez, "Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, has followed up her controversial observation that the current copyright laws do not seem to be making things better for creators or for culture with a talk that sketches a reasonable approach to helping the Net serve as an instrument of democracy in unfree nations. Go, Neelie, go!"

First, citizens living in non-democratic regimes need technological tools to help them. Tools which shield them from indiscriminate surveillance. Tools which help them bypass restrictions on their freedom to communicate. Tools which are simple and ready-made. I want the EU to help develop and distribute those tools, in a framework that ensures the legitimacy of our action.

Second, activists may need guidance on the opportunities offered by ICT services like social networks. But they may also be dangerously ignorant of the risks they run when they use ICT: like the risk of being spied on and tracked down, even for sending a simple email or text message. We must educate them about the risks and opportunities of ICT. Through material which is simple and informative. Stuff that people without a degree in computer science can understand. In the form of pamphlets, videos, websites, whatever it takes.

Third, to respond to disruptions in ICT services, we need high-quality intelligence about what is going on "on the ground". To know when to act, we need to get information quickly, and act on it quickly. We need information we can trust. And we need to combine the expertise and intelligence of everyone – from the public sector to business, academia and civil society.

ICT for democracy: supporting a global current of change


  1. On Monday Neelie Kroes is holding a press conference in Brussels together with former German Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg about freedom and the internet:

    Guttenberg “accidentally” copied a vast of passages from external sources into his dissertation without citation.

    We’re excited about his role in the press conference.

    1. “Excited” doesn’t quite describe it.

      More like “pissed that he has the audacity to show his face in politics again”.

  2. It’d be proper to refer to Neelie as “Neelie Kroes, the soon to be Ex-Vice-President of the European Commission …”

    You really think the MAFIAA would let a politician keep their posts after publicly saying something they don’t like?

      1. Well giving corporations a mild slap on the wrist is kind of different then standing in the way of the copytotalitarian steamroller. The MAFIAA has amply demonstrated it’s gonna screw anything and anybody to get what it wants, devil may care. They’re perfectly willing to wreck human rights, freedom of speech, democracy, economies, the internet and pretty much everything. Unfortunate obstacles like Neelie in the way will just be cleared one way or another.

    1. That’s still a good way to depict the European Commission. The commissioners have extremely broad executive powers on a lot of subjects most of the time they are able to bypass the Parliament, without a single one of them having been elected.

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