MEP: European leadership crucial in internet future

Marietje
Member of the European Parliament, Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66), wants the European Union to show leadership and strive to increase freedom for internet users. Next week, an important summit will be held in Brazil to discuss the future of internet governance. InĀ a letter to Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Schaake emphasises the important role that the EU must play, especially now that the US have lost credibility after the NSA revelations. Schaake: "Fundamental choices about the future of internet governance will be made in the coming months. Do we choose an approach where states are in the driving seat, or one where all stakeholders are involved and heard? I want the EU to push for that second option. We need to be ahead of the curve in the fight to preserve the open internet and to protect the rights of its users. To do that, we need a clear strategy." Balkanisation Increasingly, countries are trying to gain more control over the internet, both within their national borders and abroad. At the same time, important infrastructures and services are still closely linked to the American government. Schaake: "Everyone has an interest in an open and accessible internet, whether it is from an economic, social or human rights perspective. More cyber security is too often used as an excuse by governments to increase their controlĀ over the internet. That threatens digital freedoms and human rights such as freedom of expression and access to information." NETmundial Next week, a large international conference on internet governance will take place in Sao Paolo: NETmundial. Here, amongst other things, the future of the 'multi-stakeholder model' will be discussed. This model, in which all stakeholders discuss norms for internet governance informally, is in dire need of reform, says Schaake. "We need more inclusiveness and transparency, so that we can also increase the accountability of the parties involved for the choices the make. At the same time, we need to find a better balance between the role of governments, companies, civil society and academia, so that all voices can be heard and so that not only commercial parties make the rules in practice." Schaake is a member of the Global Commission on Internet Governance where experts will research possibilities to do this in the coming two years. "My goals for this project are to enhance and preserve digital freedoms for internet users globally", says the MEP.