Ahead of the conference on the future of Europe, where EU citizens are invited to imagine and build the bloc’s future, Slate launches the “My Europe for Me” project. The goal: to give a voice to French and European youth, to define their expectations and demands, and to get specialists and members of Parliament to respond to them.
Has the European Union become the Internet policeman? In any case, this is the ambition demonstrated by the European Commission several years ago. Between the Digital Market Law, introduced last March, which will force Apple and Google to open up their smartphone systems to competitors, and copyright guidance, the EU appears to want to compensate for the absence of European GAFA, the latter of which is mostly American or Chinese, setting rules that govern the web.
Politics delights Marceau Perret, 24, a master’s student in geopolitics in Paris. the guy ‘The European Union found out a bit too late’Favor “Civil Service in the House of Europe”It is considered that the European level is the only one “that can respond to some of the major global challenges, such as cyber defense”.
Concerned about digital issues and online privacy protection, Marceau welcomes the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018, which gave European citizens more control over the use of their data. “It’s something unique in the world, it’s a very good thing”the student points to Slate.
If the EU’s influence on the Internet goes beyond its limits, Marceau hopes to see the creation of a file “True Global Internet Governance” to “Set common rules that we all agree on.”. Above all, the student is concerned about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) by governments as part of a mass surveillance policy, as in China. From this follows this demand towards the European Union:
To better understand European policy on online regulation, and what the EU can do to better protect its citizens, Slate spoke with Patrick Breyer, MEP from the Pirate Party.
Slate.fr: What are the EU’s privileges with regard to private online data?
Patrick Breyer: In general, the idea of basic rights guaranteed by EU law applies both online and offline. We have the right to freedom of expression, but also to the protection of our privacy, in real life and on the web.
The European Union is taking action on different things: I can cite the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which promotes intellectual property rights around the world, as well as private online copy reform and resolutions ensuring neutrality from the web. Thus, the European Union established rules ensuring the same level of communication for all.
But there are also examples of bad legislation, such as regulating terrorism online.
Specifically, one of the greatest developments in recent years has been the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Is it a success?
Yes, it is a huge success for the European Union. The General Data Protection Regulation has become a data protection standard. It was an unprecedented norm that was copied in other parts of the world. This rule ensures that our data is not shared without our consent and protects it from misuse.
One of the most controversial clauses concerns the transfer of data to other countries, such as the United States. GDPR also protects us on this subject, meaning that Facebook, for example, has servers on European soil. This law is a real success, in particular thanks to the European Parliament which has struggled for a strong and ambitious text.
The European Union is trying to position itself as a policeman on the Internet. Does the strategy work?
In general, the European Union is in good standing, and indeed it is our duty to lead the online digital world in alignment with our rights and values. Big corporations use the Internet for censorship and for profit… We have to answer these problems. And I think basic rights are well protected here.
There is still a question about what EU governments are doing to regulate digital issues, and it’s not always positive. We must fight these trends. We see, for example, that some governments want to use mass surveillance tools…
Exactly, Marceau wants the EU to do more to regulate AI. Do you agree?
Yeah. In fact, these AI systems are often just bad and ridiculous statistics; They are used to make decisions or make proposals. But due to some biases, AI can make a distinction, especially for marginalized groups. Something must be done about it.
We are also fighting the use of artificial intelligence to identify people, or their attitudes, in public places. This is done in China, where the police are immediately alerted. This can have an impact on civil liberties, as people will be put under constant surveillance and reluctant to discuss certain topics or act in certain ways. This is why we are fighting for a ban on biometric monitoring to be included in future AI guidance.
Where can the EU do better?
Much remains to be done regarding digital participation in democratic decisions. The Internet provides us with many opportunities to better inform and engage citizens. We must use this tool, as many negotiations are still taking place behind closed doors at the European level. It would be easy to allow citizens to comment on the bill, for example.
There are significant differences between the 27 EU countries regarding access to a stable internet connection. Is the EU doing enough on this subject?
I think the European Union is doing a lot on this subject; By law, citizens have the right to fast access to the Internet. But the realization of this right by Member States is not sufficient. In some places you have to rely on 4G because the landlines are not fast enough. There is the issue of roaming rights, which have been abolished in the European Union, but are not well implemented in some member states.
You too can make your voice heard at the Conference on the Future of Europe! Register on the dedicated platform and participate in the discussion. Let people know which Europe you want to live in and help shape our future!
The project was co-financed by the European Union under the European Parliament Grants Program in the field of Telecommunications. The European Parliament has not participated in its preparation and is in no way responsible or bound by the information, information or opinions expressed in the framework of the project for which only the authors of the Program, the persons interviewed, the publishers or broadcasters of the Program are responsible in accordance with applicable law. Nor can the European Parliament be held responsible for any damage, direct or indirect, that may result from the implementation of the project.