Welcome and opening 2012
14 June 2012 | 9:00-10:30
Programme overview 2012
- Göran Marby, Director-General, The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority
- Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General, Council of Europe
An inclusive society – How do we get European citizens, governments and economies fit for the digital age?
- Alexander Alvaro, Vice President, European Parliament
- Anna-Karin Hatt, Minister for Information Technology and Energy Sweden
- John Higgins, President, Digital Europe
- Malcolm Hutty, President, EuroISPA
- Neelie Kroes, Vice President, European Commission
- Jasna Matić, State Secretary for Digital Agenda
- Peter Matjasic, President, European Youth Forum
- Emily Taylor, Lawyer and Internet law and governance consultant
Provided by: Caption First, Inc., P.O. Box 3066, Monument, CO 80132, Phone: +001-719-481-9835, www.captionfirst.com
This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.
>> OLA BERGSTROM: Good morning, everybody. I'm Ola Bergstrom, the head of International Affairs Coordination at the Post and Telecom Agency. I will be your host for today. And I will be more than anything in charge of time-keeping.
I'll leave the floor for the welcoming addresses from Thorbjorn, the Secretary-General, and Goran Marby, the Director-General.
>> GORAN MARBY: Good morning to you all. Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 5th EuroDIG.
Stockholm is not only, at least in my view, one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Sweden and Stockholm also have a strong legacy in the development of modern and electronic communication and Internet services. But the Internet, as we know, should not be taken for granted. Sweden is a strong advocate for an open global and secure Internet now and in the future. Therefore, it’s a privilege to host the 5th EuroDIG.
A milestone in any important process safeguarding these values in a way that allows many different perspectives to be heard, EuroDIG is a platform for stakeholders from different parts of society to meet in an open and inclusive environment to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the future of Internet. It is a forum for information and knowledge sharing, and not to be forgotten, networking.
We are all concerned with the development of the rules: Governments, businesses, nonprofit organisations, and citizens, and we welcome you all here.
Different stakeholders have different needs, and we need to articulate them and learn about them in order to meet the challenges of today and move forward.
EuroDIG has certainly gained quite a pace over the last few years. This year’s conference is the largest event so far, with more than 500 participants.
The agenda is based on over 70 proposals from stakeholders, which is another new record. We have quite a number of interesting and qualified speakers, and there are 30 different sessions on the agenda.
I’m very pleased to welcome you to Stockholm, to join the dialogue in shaping the future of Internet.
And with this, I would like to welcome Mr. Thorbjorn Jagland, Secretariate Council of Europe on the stage. Welcome.
>> BORBJORN JAGLAND: Director General Marby, ladies and gentlemen, it’s a great pleasure for me to be here in Stockholm today and to address the fifth edition of the EuroDIG. We have with us over 600 representatives from civil society, business, Governments, Parliaments, and International organisations, all here to openly discuss the most pressing issues on Internet public policy.
At the heart of the vitally important meeting is the question of democracy, the traditional relationship of the individual to the state. How should it evolve at the time of rapid change? Where do the dangers lurk? These problems can only be parceled out by broadly based and competent discussion. We at the Council of Europe understood a long time ago that in order to set ambitious yet achievable standards, it is necessary to involve everyone who will be implementing them.
Human rights, Freedom of Expression, privacy rights, this is the bread and butter of our organisation online and off line. The rights of individuals to share their views freely, to hold their leaders accountable, and practice their religion, these rights are universal. It makes no difference whether they are exercised in a public square or a Facebook profile.
There cannot be separate rules for the real world and the so-called virtual world. Access to the Internet must be respected as an integral part of everyone’s right to Freedom of Expression and access to information. So access to the Internet is no longer a luxury, but a necessity, and it should be a right.
I want to use this opportunity today to discuss three urgent threats that the International community is facing regarding Internet Governance: Threats to our human dignity, threats to our security, and threats to our privacy.
But before I do so, I would like to say a few words on the central theme of our conference: Who sets the rules for the Internet? It is clear for all of us that the power of individuals to communicate and connect has expanded in the last few years. The world economic forum estimates that over 2 billion people are now online, nearly a third of the humankind. There are 325 billion Web sites, 100,000 tweets per second, and 48 hours of video clips are uploaded to the YouTube every minute.
The events of the Arab Spring remind us of the global appetite for information, a growing appetite for equality and for representative democracy.
The rights of electronic and social media has boosted the ability of cyberactivists to come together as a catalyst for change, to use the Internet as a tool to counter heavy handed Governments.
New technologies have galvanized people to think and act more freely. In brutal societies, such as Syria, activists and journalists increasingly operate Web sites rather than offices. They would rather have followers rather than staff. What does this tell us? One thing is certain, new governance models in a plugged in world will no doubt demand greater demands for transparency and accountability.
So this brings us to the first of the three threats I mentioned, the threat to our human dignity. The challenge to keep the Internet free and open for all. Around the world, regimes are building cyber fortresses, pushing through measures that restrict free expression and curb fundamental rights. The number of Governments that censored Internet content has grown from 4 to 40 in ten years and this number is on the rise, unfortunately. In some of these cases, the censorship is ashamedly blatant. Ten days ago on the 23rd anniversary of Tienneman square, Chinese censors blocked Internet access to the terms 23, candle, and “never forget.” And you all understand why.
In other cases, in parts of Europe Internet censorship is more silent but it’s just as unacceptable. Access to the Internet is part of Democratic freedoms. Citizens should enjoy maximum rights while being subjected to minimum risks. This is one of the biggest challenges that we are faced with today.
We need an open, inclusive and safe environment. We must avoid unnecessary restrictions that can smother innovation and hinder the free flow of information and knowledge. I therefore urge European Governments to refrain from filtering Internet content for reasons other than those mentioned in Article 10 of the European Convention on human rights.
The second threat I would like to address is cybercrime and the threat to our security. Over the past year, there have been unique cyber attacks against the private sector, against Governments, against civil society organisations, against political or position groups in Belaruse, for example. There were major cases of threat. This is a serious issue that undermines European competitiveness. Not only does it cost jobs and impede growth, it also stops our entrepreneurial vigor. The threats come in various forms. Just as the Internet and social media played a positive role during the Arab Spring, it cast a shadow of the London riots.
So with freedom comes responsibility. We cannot ignore the dark side of the Internet. I say this also as a person who remembers the tragic events in Oslo almost a year ago. What we saw there is that when somebody is writing on the Internet and somebody is speaking, others are acting. So what we say and write has consequences. Hateful words can deepen divisions and provoke violence; on the Internet, this power is magnified.
Connection technologies can benefit the human rights activists and the extremists alike. It is up to all of us to make sure that these technologies are used for good, rather than ill.
Part of the problem is that cybercrime evolves fast and lawmaking slow. The Council of Europe supports countries worldwide in the implementation of the Budapest Convention on cybercrime. Ten years after the adoption, the Budapest Convention represents the only International treaty to protect freedom, security, and human rights online. So far, the Budapest Convention has proven its worth. Over the past decade, the Convention has, for example, triggered legislative reforms on all continents and helped increase police and judicial cooperation.
But we cannot do it alone. Government should seize the opportunity that the Budapest Convention offers. It is in everyone’s interest to increase the number of parties to the Convention.
Only by working together – and by “together” I mean business, International and multi-state organisations, and individual States – will there be effective responsibility, freedom, and protection of human rights when going online.
An important and relatively straightforward starting point would be to raise the awareness of all stakeholders. Many companies are breeched by hackers working down virtual hallways, looking for a single unlocked door. That proverbial unlocked door can lead into an entire data network. Companies should start thinking ahead and locking their doors. Even simple measures like training exercises and regular threat assessments can help protect companies.
The third and final threat I would like to broach is just as important, the threat to our privacy. New technologies also create new risks to our privacy. The list is long: Profiling, cloud computing, biometric.data. The creation of a secure environment is vital for the longstanding success and the social acceptance of new technologies. Too much transfer of personal data could lead to resistance if the change is not managed in a way which represents people’s rights and freedoms.
Only by guaranteeing the protection and respect for human rights online will people trust and feel confident in a hyperconnected world.
The Council of Europe has for over 30 years been at the forefront of the protection of privacy.
Convention 108, which aims to secure the right to privacy for every individual, remains as valued today as it was three decades ago. We are now in the process of modernizing the data protection Convention. This is still work in progress, but the Convention’s conceptual backbone is already clear. A revamped Convention will do several things. It will ensure the Council of Europe principles remain in sync with technological developments. It will reinforce its follow-up system. It will maintain technologically new provisions, ensuring compatibility with EU regulations. A modernized updated data protection Convention will reaffirm yet again its potential as a global standard.
So, dear friends, dear ladies and gentlemen, the cooperation we have with civil society, the private sector, and International organisations represented here today is vital to have an International governance framework. Thomas Freedman in the New York Times wrote months ago was that, well, one of the problems with the social media is also that political leaders get so many voices into their heads that they tend to forget their own voice. I think it’s very important that we remember this, my voice that I have in my own head is that the Internet represents the same as the Guttenberg technology, actually, paved the way for. Namely, emancipation of humankind, enlightenment in Europe. And I’m convinced that the Internet revolution is as deep and as important as what happened many hundred years ago. It will influence every one of us.
It will first and foremost mean progress for humankind. But there are a lot of threats which we also have to be aware of. And that’s why we need politicians that also of course understand and have also their own voice in their heads.
Thank you very much.
>> The Internet plays a very big role in my life, much larger than I would like to admit.
>> Free speech.
>> Internet is a big part of my life since it’s the main way for me to communicate with my friends when I’m not seeing them face-to-face.
>> If you don’t communicate with people in real life, then maybe you forget how to communicate with people standing in front of you.
>> Internet is great because if you’re not on Skype or any voice communication, you can just type and you get a lot of time to actually think about what you’re saying.
>> For many people, it’s important to have different personalities, but I’m the same person in real life that I am on the Internet.
>> I probably post with more awareness than I did three years ago. Definitely.
>> We are born into it. And no one teaches us about Internet, but we need to teach the older force the knowledge we have and the experiences.
>> We really know everything about the Internet in a way so that we can help our elders as well who did not grow up with this technology.
>> I think the Internet changes the way we study a lot and it’s good for that field, the field of study especially.
>> Information access and the Internet is information that comes directly from, for example, a news page.
>> The main problem I see with somebody governing the Internet is that it was created as a forum of freedom.
>> Censorship is a big issue that I’m against, and words that stop, who decides what to censor, and it’s against freedom of speech.
>> It’s easier to buy a movie in a store than to steal it. But on the Internet it’s easier to steal it than to buy it.
>> Internet is now. The older people have to be included in the detailed society.
>> Internet is the future. The younger generation need to grow up with a healthy relationship through the Internet.
We demand a safe and easy payment method with no personal information needed. Some of you could maybe together make an International one use gift card.
>> We demand the right. We demand the right to integrity and the right to privacy and security. And we want a solution to control Internet behavior.
>> I’m embarrassed to say it, but after you learned to live with it, it’s hard to be without it.
(End of video)
>> OLA BERGSTROM: This was produced yesterday by the Nordic Youth IGF for this particular conference. So there was a lot of work put into this.
Now we will jump right into the first opening session, an inclusive society. And I leave the floor to Emily Taylor, who will be the moderator of this session.
Emily, the floor is yours.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: Thank you very much, Ola.
Welcome to EuroDIG. We are going to have our first session now. And we’re going to start with a few introductory remarks. And I would like you to welcome first of all Sweden’s Minister for Information Technology and Energy, Anna-Karin Hatt.
>> ANNA-KARIN HATT: Thank you very much Vice President and commissioner, Vice Presidents, participants from the Nordic Youth IGF and the participants both here in the room and online. I would like also to say a warm welcome to Stockholm and the fifth European Dialogue on Internet Governance. I’m really very glad to see you all here. And I’m especially glad to see those of you that have come back to Stockholm and those of you who attended the Stockholm Internet Forum in April earlier this spring.
I’m really proud that the fifth EuroDIG is being held here in Stockholm. Because EuroDIG is a truly multi-stakeholder event, which has grown and evolved since the start in Strasbourg four years ago. And the issues that we will discuss during these days are really getting more and more important to all of us.
The Internet has truly become of utmost importance as a tool for communication between individuals, between companies, and between countries. If this development shall proceed, we must, no matter what sector or what stakeholder group we represent, continue to work together to overcome the challenges we face and together seize the opportunities and welcome building a digital society for all. And I think that the Internet really grivs us the possibilities to bridge the gaps and overcome the divides that we have between people, between cultures, around the world. It gives us real opportunities for freedom of information, freedom of expression, for full participation in political processes. And the Internet today is, as we see it, a really vital platform for our modern democracy.
And I think that a truly open Internet is also one of the most important driving forces for innovation, for new services, for efficient competition. And that’s why the way the Internet is governed and where the discussions and decisions about the development of the Internet are held must continue to evolve and develop so that every organisation, every stakeholder, and every person can participate on an equal footing.
In many ways the Internet belongs to us all, and that is why the governance of the Internet must continue to be built on transparent multistakeholder platforms.
My vision is that we, together, shall be able to create a digital society for all, a truly inclusive digital society. And an open digital society has really been my number one priority since I took the initiative to create a digital agenda for Sweden.
The fulfillment of the Swedish digital agenda and of the European one needs the engagement and involvement of all sectors in our society. Inclusiveness, engagement, and transparency must remain at the heart of our work. Because we are facing many great challenges, the climate change, an aging population, and in too many parts of the world an ongoing assault on the free speech. Our answer to these challenges must be an open and transparent dialogue between different sectors, based on a proper understanding of the different roles and responsibilities that we have.
This year’s EuroDIG is a great opportunity to exchange such views, to share our best practices, and to highlight the diversity of experience between different stakeholders. This is an opportunity to identify common ground to raise at the global meeting of the Internet Governance Forum.
EuroDIG is also an opportunity to raise awareness in Europe and among European stakeholders about the relevance and value of the multistakeholder dialogue on Internet Governance. I think that this type of dialogue should be brought on to other fora as well, such as the World Congress of Information Technology, this autumn. That meeting can really affect the Internet in the future. And we all need to be very clear and stand very firm for the ideas that we have and the important common ground that we share.
I trust that this year’s EuroDIG will continue to foster dialogue, cooperation, and the creation of those new ideas that will pave the way to a fully inclusive digital society for all.
So let me wish us all the very best of discussions today and in the future as well, and a very, very pleasant stay here in Stockholm. So welcome to Stockholm. Welcome to the EuroDIG, and please let the discussions begin!
>> EMILY TAYLOR: Thank you very much, Minister Hatt.
And now I want us to welcome one of the Vice Presidents of the European Commission, Neelie Kroes.
>> NEELIE KROES: Madam minister, I don’t need to check with this audience if we all agree upon the conclusion that we couldn’t find a better place to have this meeting than Sweden. And that is not just policy of being kind or whatever, but it is the truth. And by the way, also not because in Sweden during these weeks we do have 24 hours of light and that is also part of an attraction, so to say.
But having said that, and I’m also addressing the President of the European Council, indeed, Mr. President, we are focusing nowadays on all the issues of financial and economic crisis. And don’t misunderstand me, it is a sincere challenge, so to say. But we shouldn’t forget that it’s not only about money, prosperity, economic growth and jobs. It is also about the principles of a democracy and also talking of Europe. And I think that when we are just thinking through how the European Union at that time started, it is based on principles. It is based on principles of a democracy, and then we are talking about freedom of speech, freedom of information, and a couple of other principles.
So I’m delighted to be in your midst. I think it’s great to be in Stockholm and talking about all the challenges we have and talking about Europe, the Internet, can indeed help us to resolve a couple of them.
And what I plan today, if you allow me, I want to talk about how a European approach to the Internet could help even more. And our main challenge today is to ensure the jobs and growth. And just between you and me, I don’t need to explain that, discussions in the College of the European Commission are quite focused on our challenges of today. And I’m often asking for the floor for only this sector, the digital sector, so to say. It’s really proving that normally speaking there is economic growth at stake. It is not a matter of “if” we and so on and so forth. It’s there. The challenge of the growth and the jobs is there. And that could lift us out of the crisis.
And the Internet, by the way, provides an extraordinary new platform for innovation. Studies such as – studies suggest, and it’s studies by independent objective research institutions, that it’s ten extra points of growth and penetration translates to 1 to 1.5 percent extra growth. Well, that’s what we are asking for. So it can offer jobs, too.
Soon we will face, and “soon” in this case means 2015, if we are taking one breath, then it’s 2015, we have a shortage of 700,000 ICT workers. By the way, that is good news for all those who are in the 5.5 million unemployed people under 25 looking for work. Also, in your country, with more than 21 percent of youth unemployment, being aware that in 2015 there is a shortage of 700,000 jobs to be filled in, talking about the ICT. And it’s not only a matter of filling in those jobs with competent people, and we still have time to give the skills and the education to make it indeed tailor made, but it’s also keeping our industry in Europe. And I’m the last one who is just facing a situation where protection is at stake. No. But we should have our own global industries, located with their hats off, as like Ericsson in Europe, and then go out, so to say.
So as long – as long as you have the right awareness and skills, we can do a great job. And it can boost our competitiveness. It can boost our productivity by offering a new way of doing pretty much everything.
Look at the cloud. It’s going to radically reshape current models for ICT services. And sometimes people are saying with your age, you are enthusiastic about the cloud? I am. I think it’s the new challenge for Europe. We should be back into the driver’s seat. We were in the driver’s seat, talking about the last century, the GSM. We should be back in the driver’s seat in Europe and not just transforming our digital economy, but every other sector that uses it, from a small business talking about the cloud, who gets flexible and cheap back office services, to other sectors, from health to music and you name it.
Europe has the potential to leap frog the next digital revolution and to be in the lead, so to say, in the driver’s seat. And it’s time to get over the gloom of the Euro crisis and to embrace the future. And, of course, I’m aware that growth and jobs are not the only challenges – I’m repeating myself – we face in Europe today. But guess what? ICT can help with the other one, too.
We need to manage resources and deal with climate change. Internet based innovations from teleconferencing to smart electricity grids can help us. We need to deal with an aging population, rightly said by you, Madam minister, eHealth solutions can help people stay active and independent longer as they age; more effectively for less cost.
So, in this way, ministers of finance are our biggest friends, so to say. We face strange public finances and demands to do more with less. E-Government can deliver better services more efficiently.
The Internet isn’t a magic wand. It won’t solve all of those problems overnight, no doubt about that. But, it does offer us the possibility of an alternative future, one in which innovative and innovating to overcome those problems is a lot easier. We can’t lose sight of that. The Internet is key to our sustainable future. We must remove obstacles to its huge potential.
And with that in mind, we can see how important it is that we take the right approach, the right approach to global Internet governance. And that is often a polarized debate. I’m aware of that and I’m not afraid of that. But we on the one hand have those wanting public authorities to be heavily involved and on the other those who want a more hands off, lazair faire approach. For me, the right answer is in between. On the one hand, of course, public authorities have a duty to enforce the law and to protect rights. Equally, we should not cramp the Internet’s potential for innovation, not least because innovation is in public authority’s interests, too. It can benefit growth. It can benefit democracy and it can benefit a higher quality public services.
So the answer lies in the middle ground between public intervention and public inaction. But, of course, you’re asking it now be precise.
Last year, I sent out a compact for the Internet. And that is a set of principles for how we should take care of the Internet. One of them was there should be one unified Internet. In principle, every node can communicate with every other, wherever in the world it is, and that is what has helped innovation, what has helped plurality, what has helped Democratic and cohesion and economic growth for the online world. But we are here at the Europe forum for Internet Governance, and without stretching that global unity, it’s worth thinking about what European values might mean for the European vision of the Internet. Because there are a number of areas where the Internet would benefit from a European approach. Let’s remember what we are good at here in Europe and how that could help the Internet.
First, we are the home of freedom and fundamental rights. We need an Internet that supports that. A platform for Democratic voices, a tool for those who struggle against tyranny.
And, second, sometimes great ideas come when we cooperate, when we are agreeing on common language and common standards. And here in Europe we are good at finding that kind of consensus in your country but in quite a number of Member States, so to say.
Look at the GSM standard. I was already mentioning that, it underpins most mobile networks. It was developed and agreed upon right here in Europe. Indeed, look at standards that inspired the worldwide Web itself. Without those standards, you don’t have a common platform for all the innovation to happen.
And, third, we can find unity amid our diversity, and that is what the EU is all about. And the Internet, too, by the way. The Web is a great way to find that unity and bring different cultures together. Online translation being just one obvious example.
Europe, by the way, ladies and gentlemen, is a great test bed for trying out those kinds of ideas. Ideas which once you have mastered them here, and we could see it when we were listening to the younger generation, so to say, can also serve you well in other markets.
And, fourth, we are used to the idea that rules and regulations can help markets by building trust and confidence. Look at rules. We have consumer rights, or data protection. Currently, the subject of major reform proposals, and those have served us well off line. They can do so online, too, if applied in the right way.
In the world, one of the big challenges is to identify which set of rules, from which territory, should apply. Do that in a way that avoids loopholes or artificially tied to playing fields, and also to avoid overreaching beyond one’s territorial jurisdiction. Our data protection proposal takes up that challenge. And it is a key point in our forthcoming strategy on cloud computing. Because, ultimately, we have recognized that appropriate public intervention can help build markets, that freedom and safety go hand in hand. If people feel confident to act online, that would be a bigger support to the Internet than letting it develop as some kind of lawless wild west.
We need to find a balance, that is the challenge we are talking about. But imagine, ladies and gentlemen, if Europe could become the safest place in the world to go online for citizens, for consumers, and for businesses, imagine what a boost that would be.
Of course, there is much we can learn from each other and from other parts of the world. I believe there is as much entrepreneurial spirit here in Europe as in silicon valley, and I see that American banks, quite interesting, American banks are now starting to notice that, too. The silicon valley bank just opened its first UK branch supporting sectors, including technology and venture capital with loans from a few hundred thousand Euros to tens of millions. And we were always saying in Europe we would love to be silicon valley, and I’m always saying don’t copy anyone’s success, make your own success; make your own formula.
And, by the way, when we are then reacting and saying okay, but, we need venture capital and that is not available and not available in the numbers that we do have in our head, well, if now the U.S. Bankers are seeing those parts in our market, and they are acting, come on. I don’t buy that we Europeans couldn’t do that also and do it ourselves. Of course, start-ups don’t just need finance. I’m not stupid. They also need a license to fill. They have over in the U.S. or indeed the truly integrated market where US start-ups can rapidly grow. But we shouldn’t be negative about our differences with the U.S, nor of our values. We should, rather, use them in a way that promotes and supports growth online, without being heavy handed, without limiting online freedoms, and without fragmenting the unity of the Internet.
Just a couple of examples of how we can do that, indeed how we are doing that. Take protecting children online. It is a vital goal. And I’m deleted that this conference is taking the time to discuss that. For that issue, we need to find solutions that are just and that don’t just manage the risk but maximize the opportunities.
And, ladies and gentlemen, there are huge opportunities. If we build trust in the online world, if we empower parents and children and make them feel safe online, we can do much more than simply protect them from harm. We can find new platforms, open up huge demands, and help a huge content market take off if we make the Internet a great place for kids to be, a place where they can learn, where they can play, where they can explore, a place where they feel safe and happy, then the sky is the limit. And that is exactly what our strategy on a better Internet for children really, released last month, sets out.
But we should not be naive. This week there have been disturbing stories and criminal convictions in the UK about more than 80 children groomed for sexual abuse through an online game called Harbor Hotel. And this happened even though the company signed up the Commission’s safer social networking principles. We don’t know yet the full extent of this issue, but it’s undoubtedly something that occurs on many sites, and I’m angry and I’m not accepting it for the vulnerables in our society.
So my message is not that it’s safer off line, if it isn’t, but that companies and parents cannot be complacent. If they stay complacent, then we will have to get tough. And I assure you I will be, for it’s not acceptable for me. No one is a stronger supporter of freedom than me.
But freedom is a two-way street. If the Internet world wants to keep maximum freedom for regulation, it also needs to stand up and take responsibility. You can’t only say one. You also have to take your responsibility.
Nobody’s right to freedom extends to practices like sexual grooming. But there are, indeed, tools to massively reduce that sort of behavior.
Take the new proposal as one example. In Austria and in Iceland, for example, jet rooms aimed at teenagers often require users to verify their age through scanning of their ID card. That keeps adults and children who are too young out of the spaces that are not intended for them. Common rules to recognize and accept eIdentification and authentication not only give high levels of security. For example, when shopping online, they can also enhance Web anonymity. And that is because EIDs allow an authority or a business to verify only the information that needs to be verified for a given transaction.
In contrast, filling in a physical form or showing a standard ID card tends to automatically share a lot of information. And if we build trust in that way, we don’t just increase peace of mind. We can make transactions online safe and comfortable. We can ensure Web innovators easily benefit from spreading their ideas to a single market. And we can maximize the innovation potential of the online world.
And, of course, sound Internet Governance means not just the tools and the policies we use, but the processes and mechanisms for how we decide them.
When it comes to that, we in the European Commission are strong supporters of the multistakeholder approach and we have long been so. Because dialogue, participation, and cooperation at all levels are the best tools for the best Internet.
And I want to apply that cooperative approach to the EU level, cooperating is something we are good at. But it’s also essential if we want to project our European vision onto the world’s stage. So we have been meeting with many key players to that end, with the European Parliament, and with the EU businesses, and the civil society, to ensure Europe really pulls its weight in the Internet Governance Forum. And I’m convinced that the IGF can achieve more. If we want the multistakeholder model to be sustainable, it has to be able to deliver policy guidance, too, not only debates.
Yesterday we and EuroDIG organised a preevent to explore those issues further. Many concrete ideas were put forward, many concrete ideas that we are in favor for, and I hope this shows that the Commission is committed to constructive leadership roles in the multistakeholder approach.
And, more broadly, some have made the case that existing structures aren’t enough for Internet Governance. That public authorities need a new organisation, perhaps with the UN, to meet our responsibilities. To be quite honest with you, I’m not sure we do. Sure we need better coordination, sure we need better communication, but I’m not convinced that means we need a whole new organisation. But, in any case, I prefer being pragmatic, I’m Dutch, so I’m quite a model for pragmatism, to being that I prefer pragmatism. We need to first identify what the problem might be. To work together with all stakeholders involved, to map out more clearly where stronger cooperation or coordination is needed and what structures will give us truly multi-lateral decision-making. Either way, I believe that the best way to support the Internet is to have faith in our European values, and have faith that they can deliver online, too.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: Thank you, Madam. Could I ask the other panelists to join us on stage? Perhaps we can move the lectern back so those on that section can have proper sight lines to the audience.
We have heard introductory remarks from Neelie Kroes and Minister Hatt. Now we are joined by our other panelists who I will introduce in a minute. We have another 30 minutes of our opening section to go. And the “D” in EuroDIG stands for “dialogue.” So I’m hoping that those of you in the audience will also participate in this opening session as much as possible.
Now, somewhere else, I’m not sure where, we have somebody monitoring the remote participation. Can you wave – thank you. So we will also be going to the remote moderators at some stage to hear just the general wash from the Twitter feed and any specific questions.
So let me just introduce our panel to you. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by more presidents than Mt. Rushmore here. If I start here, I have Peter Matjasic, who is the President of the European Youth Forum.
I have Alexander Alvaro, who is the Vice President of The European Internet Foundation. Right?
>> ALEXANDER ALVARO: Parliament.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: A member of the European Parliament.
Minister Hatt we know. Commissioner Neelie Kroes. And I have John Higgins, President of the Digital Europe. And then the last President here, Malcolm Hutty, the President of EuroISPA.
Welcome to all of our panelists, welcome to you, both participants in the room and our remote participants.
We have quite a challenging agenda set for us by the multistakeholder bottom up process, covering Internet as a catalyst for socioeconomic development, and we heard remarks from our opening speakers on this.
The protection of rights and freedoms online, again, our speakers covered this. Digital agendas, open Government, and lastly Internet governance. So I don’t think we will be dealing with each of those in-depth, otherwise we will be here for two or three days.
But perhaps we can just start with this, and with you, Peter, taking a youth perspective. And I think we were all – I sense that the feeling in the room watching the film from the Nordic Youth participants, everybody just felt uplifted by that.
But can I just ask you from a youth perspective, one of the things that we talk about, us oldies, in the European or International policy debate is about rules, regulations, Internet safety, Internet ID, verification. What do your members make of all of that control freakery? Is it relevant to their life online?
>> PETER MATJASIC: Thank you. It was very illuminating what we heard from our Nordic colleagues before and we have other Europeans who had the youth event prior to this, “the Web of tomorrow is yours,” and what young people have in common is that they are digital natives. We heard that clearly. We see that they behave differently online. It’s much more intuitive for them. I’m considered with 30 something now a bit old in that sense, and 20 or 15 year olds have a different approach to it.
What is important to us, what young people want, is to be a proper stakeholder and not be patronized. It’s great to be there and make videos, but they want to be heard. We heard clear demands from young people. Why do we want it to be based on age? We know that there are other age groups, but why youth is so specific in the Internet debate is that they simply behave differently. It’s not that they don’t want to respect the existing rules. They want to shape and redefine them. Maybe we will end up with the same things, but they want to be involved.
We heard it. We saw the tweets when Commissioner Neelie Kroes was talking about safety. A lot of them were afraid with the word “Safe” because of the connotations that it might have, and from the countries that they come from, like Azerbaijan and elsewhere, where it might be misused. We have to see how we talk to them. Do we use the same terminology as we do for industry and business or do we adapt for that? So it’s important for youth to be included.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: Could I just challenge you a bit on this. I think that there is obviously a great deal of difference in the way that youth use the Internet. But youth are different anyway, aren’t they? We don’t give youth a vote. And although people might not say it out loud, people in the corridors, usually the other side of 40 plus are saying why should we be lectured by youth? What do they know about everything? Why is it that youth are – why should they be included as a full stakeholder in these debates? What rights do they have?
>> PETER MATJASIC: We have the same rights, but we have specific rights because we have to be empowered because where on those areas where we don’t have a right to speak yet, we have to get that right. That’s why we’re claiming to vote at 16, to lower the barrier. We say on the Internet youth is equally as important. If we hear “youth is the future and the Internet is the future, and the Internet is in the teenage years where we are setting the rules of behavior for the future generation,” then we have to involve the future generations right here and now. Of course there needs to be a level of protection when it comes to certain things. But we want to be involved on that as well and not be treated as only the object of, when it comes to that.
We want the sandbox. We want the Internet to remain the sandbox where we play.
We want it to be a public square, as mentioned by the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, where we can voice our opinions in a free way. But we also want to have certain rules so that our privacy is being protected and our digital footprint is not being misused.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: Are there any youth participants who took part in that film? Can you just raise your hands if any of you are here in the audience?
(Showing of hands)
Well, first of all, thank you very much.
I was struck by the demands made at the end of the film. We demand privacy, we’re demanding respect. Who are you demanding that of? Can one of you tell me? Who are the demands addressed to? Anyone?
>> NEELIE KROES: Take your chance.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: Take your chance, this is your moment. While you think – Alexander Alvaro, I’m interested in your views on youth as well. But we have –
>> AUDIENCE: I’m here.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: Sorry.
>> AUDIENCE: I think the demands are requested to both the industry and basically just all of the policymakers, politicians, industry, and actually all of the stakeholders out there. Everybody that has a say in the governance of the whole Internet.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: Thank you very much. And I think one of the key points that is implicit in your remarks is that it’s not addressed to any one institution or body. It’s a shared responsibility that we have to you and to all Internet users, perhaps.
Alexander Alvaro, we’re also talking about the Internet as a driver for economic development. Can – and we heard from Madam Kroes the real contribution that this sector is making to growth in Europe, 20 percent to Europe’s growth, maybe 30 percent if you include related industries. So how do we prevent this valuable source of growth getting tied up in red tape, particularly if we start creating the institutions that people are talking about.
>> ALEXANDER ALVARO: Probably by just doing less red tape. That is one of the ways to counter it. And then in the last ten years the development of the Internet was incredible. And the Commission showed us how time flies when you talk about the Internet. And, actually, we have now an estimated overall GP concerning if the Internet would be a country, up to 2016, it would be around 4.3 trillion dollars. It’s incredible.
But I wouldn’t following Bill Clinton saying that the economy is good when it comes to the Internet. It’s much, much more than a business area. When it comes to red tape, politicians have to think about how we preserve the Freedom of Expression, privacy, and how do we boost democracy when talking about the Internet? The economic discussion is one area. I’ll leave that up to economists.
I’m much more interested as a politician how do we get people engaged? How do we communicate with people? How can we channel the ideas? How can we use the entities of people no are not just interested in back door politics and slugging their way up until they can take part in a decision making process, and that’s a real challenge as policymakers that we are facing. How do we better involve citizens?
How do we get closer between public society and politics? That is the challenge.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: Do you perceive a change in the Democratic landscape and the Democratic engagement through the Internet and is it changing already? Minister Hatt?
>> ANNA-KARIN HATT: Of course it is. I think we already see this happening. And I think it’s easy that we stick to the older ideas of who is included and who is not included yet, and then we start talking about youth.
But in reality, I mean, youth is the ones taking most part in the Internet today. Maybe we’re not listening enough. But I think that when we talk about creating a truly digital society for all, there are different types of groups that we really need to include. And I think that the true challenge we have is to see that we have lots of technical possibilities to create something that I used to call a kitchen table democracy. And to cut some levels in the representative democracy, and create a more direct dialogue between electorates and those who elected us and also the other way around. And I think this is one of the great challenges that we are facing as politicians, nationally and on the European level. Are we prepared to take all those reactions and all those comments and all those suggestions that people are eager to support and hand over to us, through the Internet?
I think that this is really changing the whole role of politicians and the whole role of Civil Service.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: And do you have time to? If you live your life watching the blogosphere and the comments, do you have time to do any politics? E-Governing?
>> ANNA-KARIN HATT: It’s not one way or the other. It’s a way of making politics. We are at the point where we can see the Internet or ICT related issues as some kind of separate issues put in a separate box. This is at the heart of our work and must be at the heart of our work. It’s new channels of changing society and driving innovation and growth and changesvin our societies as a whole.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: Neelie Kroes –
>> ALEXANDER ALVARO: Could I just add? I’ll add one point, because I think it’s focusing in a peculiar way about the question about youth. Although I know how active Peter is and what he is doing, but I think one shouldn’t step into a trap and create a gap that it’s a generation question. It’s much more a question of state of mind. Are you willing to engage, to discuss, to have people communicate with you? Are you willing as a politician to talk to them or not? So don’t let us create some sort of generational gap, because I’ve seen Neelie Kroes is very active on the Internet, Martin Shult, President of the Parliament, me as Vice President and I see the minister working. So it’s a question of the state of mind, it’s not an age question.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: That’s true.
John Higgins of Digital Europe, you wanted to comment?
>> JOHN HIGGINS: I do. I want to make some sort of parent like comment at this point. Neither youth nor political. Digital Euro is the association for the tech sector across Europe. And I do want to come back to what you mentioned, Madam Kroes, jobs and growth. Because when I talk to young people, they want to know where the jobs are going to be a lot of the time. It’s where are the jobs? And I think there are, you know, when I just arrived in Stockholm and I really admire the beautiful flowers and gardens. It looks fantastic and the reason why it looks so good right now is because of all the work that was done in the autumn. And in a sense we are in an economic autumn right now and there is the opportunity for us to do some work on jobs and growth now, in this economic autumn, in order that we can get some blooming done when the spring returns.
And, you know, maybe I’m influenced because I live near, in the UK, the world’s longest running agricultural experiment. But I think of digital and the Internet as like a sort of fertilizer for the economy. And I think that, you know, we should be thinking about how we apply this fertilizer judiciously for jobs and growth.
And maybe I can just, if I might, just pick up three areas where we ought to be applying this fertilizer, many of which were mentioned but worth driving these points home.
E-Skills, it’s not as simple as saying that young people are going to get e-Skills, therefore everything will be okay. It’s far more nuanced than that. We just ran a major e-Skills campaign right across Europe. And there was some interesting research that came out from LSE, for instance, that said that just being able to text lots of love does not mean you are able to write an interesting blog or produce a sophisticated spreadsheet.
So we need a nuanced insight into e-Skills.
We need Governments to be exemplars in the use of this technology. We need them to push their data out into the open, to allow us to take advantage of all the public data.
And then my final point is to reinforce what Madam Kroes says about Europe needing to make its voice heard in the Internet, the global Internet Governance issues. We must be very wary about more public intervention. It must be a sort of only if there is a problem that only they can fix.
But we do need, and I think this is a challenge for all of us, to pick up your point, we do need to not just have a dialogue. We need to produce policy guidance. Otherwise, the institutions will take over.
And I think we have a great opportunity here, youth and older people, to really demonstrate this thing about wisdom of crowds. To really provide that wisdom to those that have helped shape the governance of the Internet and make sure, as you said, our European voices are heard in that.
So forgive the sorts of dad-like comments. But, you know, we are here, too. Aren’t we?
>> EMILY TAYLOR: Malcolm Hutty?
>> MALCOLM HUTTY: Can I come in on the innovation and growth side of things? I was pleased, Commissioner Kroes, that you mentioned the economic crisis. I think it’s important that we treat this in the context of one of the most important issues that we are facing in this society and this economy right now altogether.
I mean, I think everybody is worried about what is going on and Governments have an important short-term management crisis, but we have to remember that industry creates wealth. It’s industry that creates jobs. And Governments and the financial sector, they are in a supporting role, but it’s us that must create the jobs through innovation. And when we talk about innovation, let’s think about what that actually means.
One hundred years ago, there were modes of transport, most people used horses to get about. And there was a whole industry devoted to supporting horses, there were stables and blacksmiths and ferriers in every town. As the car came around, that evaporated. And what are they going to do with jobs? We are going through the same transition right now. One hundred years ago there was no job such as data engineer. So when we talk about innovation and protecting innovation, though it’s crucially important to ensure a good climate for business investment in major infrastructure, and that has to be a big part of it, we are also talking about protecting an environment to create jobs that we don’t even have names for yet, because they haven’t even – don’t exist.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: And perhaps also letting go of intersections of industry, or hallways of life, which have now become obsolete, perhaps that is part of your example.
>> MALCOLM HUTTY: There will be that kind of disruption, but we have the question, when we think about –
>> EMILY TAYLOR: We are short of time. Can we go to the remote moderator to see if there are questions there.
>> MODERATOR: I have no questions or comments yet.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: Are there any questions or comments from the audience? You have an opportunity here to ask Commissioner Kroes, Minister Hatt and the other panelists question, whether it’s on digital inclusion, freedoms, and how to pal those online freedoms with also protection and privacy. Can I go to you, Commissioner Kroes?
>> NEELIE KROES: Is it on purpose that only John has water?
>> JOHN HIGGINS: I brought it with me.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: Can we get water for the panelists?
>> NEELIE KROES: I have six remarks. Number one, I don’t have a young advisory board. From day one, and I was aware that whoever gathered my cabinet and my services are, I need a connection with the real young users. They are 27 now. They are bombarding me with Twitters and every now and then we sit together. So great, I’m learning a lot.
Number two, I got my best and most important lesson the first week in office with this portfolio. I went to a campus party in Madrid. Thousands of European inventors, start ups, and researchers were gathered in Madrid, camping by the way. And they were – the youngest was 14 and the oldest was 29. The 14 year old had already started two companies, and at a certain moment they were discussing robot building and they were discussing whatever. I was sitting next to two of those guys. And then he showed his competitor what he had invented. I said come on, you are stupid. You’re showing your invention to your competitor. And he looked at me and that was the wisest lesson I got so far. He said you are old fashioned. You don’t get the point. And I said okay.
And that is really, it is a different mindset. It is sharing and getting a better product out of it.
I just took that.
That was the second.
The third one is inclusion, we are aware that it is tempting to just focus on the youth. But we are to include everyone, for within a split second it is not anymore the horses versus the cars, it’s completely digitized. And we cannot afford that still 30 percent of the European population has never ever visited Internet. That is not acceptable, so to say. So we need to include them because our society has aging and whatever. But it’s all based on that new technology.
Number four, and that was mentioned, safety. I get your point that the language perhaps is not the best one. But, I badly need – give me an alternative. I don’t accept that well, this happened in the Harbor Hotel in the UK and I’m real sad. That is not the only example. The vulnerable people, the youngsters, and the parents who are not aware, so there should be a wake-up. So mention whatever we will call it, but for me so far it is safety for them. And I’m aware of –
>> EMILY TAYLOR: I’m just going to – sorry to cut you off. But with 8 minutes left, I do want to go to the audience if I may. I’m sure that we will come back to you. I had a question here, sir? Please go ahead. Do you have a microphone? Please, can we get a microphone quite briskly to this speaker, please? Any other questions from the audience?
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: I’ll come to you next. Get a microphone lined up for this gentleman in the back next. Please introduce your self.
>> AUDIENCE: I’m Dan Mount from Civic Agenda EU. I want to address this question to Madam Kroes and the rest of the panel.
A lot of the discussions focused rightly on the challenges currently facing Europe in terms of delivering more for less and in the crisis and also a requirement to deliver an inclusive digital society. And the question to the panel is would they agree that the importance of exploiting and leveraging existing infrastructure across Europe, such as, for example, the European public library network which has the access to deliver free access, online resources and digital skills training, and these kinds of existing infrastructure can form a very key and cost effective part of the solution for achieving an inclusive digital society?
>> EMILY TAYLOR: Who would like to have a go at libraries? Alexander Alvaro?
>> ALEXANDER ALVARO: Thank you for asking the question, because among the competencies I have as a Vice President, the President asked me to deal with the library of the European Parliament, which at first didn’t seem to be utmost exciting. But since the perspective was given that I should transfer it into a scientific service, that we should use online technologies, that we should make documents available to people, start offering eBooks, whatever, it has become interesting. One thing which is clear and we have a discussion about the transfer – transparency and the access to documents in the European Parliament at the moment, information is only worth something if the maximum amount of people can use it, can sort of work on it together to sort of multiply what they get out of the information. And this crowd intelligence we have to use when working with public documents is something that we try to reflect on at least every day in legislation.
For example, I declined a tool on my home page, we put in a data protection regulation now so people can amend it on online and we get the notifications as we put that in the legislative process. Access, transparency, information, the issues you mentioned, in my opinion, and I don’t know if it’s correct English, but must be front runners when participating with citizens and society.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: Sir, your question, introduce yourself.
>> AUDIENCE: I’m Jacob Dixon, a student at University.
Commissioner Kroes mentioned safety in her speech. And I wanted to point out something about – that was mentioned on Twitter, that a lot of people on the Internet think that safety is something bad. It’s something that is considered controlling and monitoring. And the point was lifted that maybe we should focus more on education than safety for children. I wanted you to comment on that.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: It’s the “S” word again, Madam Kroes.
>> NEELIE KROES: I agree that education is the most important part in just reaching the children and reaching the parents and reaching the teacher, no doubt about that. But I need to wake up. With that experience of this week, we are again aware that the parents are not aware what their children are doing. So, it’s not anymore the computer in the living room, it is your mobile and getting out and with your friends and so on. So I wouldn’t agree more with your point, but let’s use the safety for the awakeness. Education then is not everything that is at stake.
Talking about the libraries, sorry, I’m abusing this, but talking about the library, I couldn’t agree more with Alexander. But, and that is great, we asked every member state to appoint a digital champion, and a digital champion is not a politician. It is someone who you trust, hopefully you are trusting politician, too, but anyhow, someone who is a communicator to people, to society. In Romania, they did appoint a digital champion who took all the libraries, the small ones in the rural areas, as his focus in point. And it was not only talking about the library, for they were nearby, for people who were not reading anymore, and so on, and they used it as a social center for just giving more information about agricultural subsidy. Can you imagine in the rural areas in Romania? All the farmers and wives came. And he used that opportunity, the library, to digitize and to get them informed about what is at stake with digitization.
And that is what we need in the inclusion of people. Also the elderly, by the way, we badly need them, too. But that is great. You can use the younger guys and girls to educate.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: It came through in the film, didn’t it?
>> NEELIE KROES: You have a responsibility, so to say, to involve your parents, grandparents or whatever.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: I have a question here. Now, listen, it’s – there is a proposal here on this piece of paper that we go on for five or ten minutes, because we were slightly late in starting. It depends how much you want your coffee.
Should we go for it? I see lots of people wanting to join in from the audience. Please.
>> AUDIENCE: Jancar from the European NGO for Child Safety Online. Two points. I thought the video was fantastic. But we mustn’t forget not all young people are funky technosavvy, grooving around all bits of the Internet in the way that the image that was portrayed there was. There is a huge, huge variety of capabilities and levels of understanding amongst young people, and we have an obligation to cater for all of those types of young people, not just the ones that turn up at events like this or made videos like the ones that we just saw.
The second point I want to make is not many children I know have beards. In other words, the people that we – that we’re hearing from are not really children – they are not children, they are young adults. And that is great and I absolutely accept the points that you were making. But there is a whole other constituency of 11 and 10-year-olds, 12, 9 -year-olds, who are part of this, too. And it’s extremely difficult for them to be represented or for their voice to be heard at events like this. And I don’t think the young people on the video, with great respect, did that. But we have to take care of that aspect as well.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: Thank you. I think we are having a bit of beardism there from the audience.
Peter, do you want to respond and then John Higgins.
>> PETER MATJASIC: We have different age groups and we are here representing youth. We had the youth IGF, they were youth not children. So we have to separate this. But according to existing laws and rules, everybody under 18 is considered a child. So we have to adapt those rules and have a discussion on this. For a 15-year-old doesn’t apply the same things necessarily as for an 11-year-old online.
We haven’t used the word “media digital literacy.” It’s important for the children and young and for adults equally. I want to mention on the libraries –
>> EMILY TAYLOR: Quickly.
>> PETER MATJASIC: What we are forgetting about libraries is they are the first example of piracy. We should think about if I want to rent a film I can go and subscribe to a library and I go there and I share freely the knowledge that is existing in the library. I can’t yet do that online with the existing copyright rules. So we have to redefine the rules of things and use the models on that, and that is the culture of sharing that the young people want.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: I think there are youth wanting to respond. We have also something from the remote participation. Let’s get the mic. John Higgins, do you want to make a point?
>> JOHN HIGGINS: It’s another point about take older generations with you. I’ll tell you what brought this home to me, just over a year ago, in April last year, I was on a panel like this in Syria. And the conversation was about the role of the Internet in the Arab Spring. And there were older people in the audience were saying to us: One of the things that really frightens us, is we don’t know what our children and young people are up to because we’re not engaged in those sorts of online things. You’ve got that divide. It was really, really obvious that that was a big problem in the Arab world.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: It’s not confined to the Arab world, by the way, if I may say so.
Someone from the remote participation, do you have a microphone?
>> MODERATOR: Yes. So we got two questions so far from the Twitter feed. One is from – it was in the beginning of the session. She was asking when I hear Governments speaking of cooperation, do they mean as peers?. And another question arrived recently on safety and children. The children, why just speak of educating them and not investing in sexual education to talk with the perpetrators.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: Thank you. If you can just hand the microphone there to your colleague.
>> MODERATOR: I have a question from Rudy, who is connected to the remote platform here.
I guess it’s a question to you, Madam Kroes, a comment. Education is one aspect. But I think we have also to consider the speed of evolution of technology. The burden of education is not only for the youngsters. I’m afraid older people who have much more difficulty to catch up and adapt the programmes are still missing. Is there any plan from the EU to fill in this gap?
>> EMILY TAYLOR: While you consider that. Malcolm.
Can you get the microphone in the back for some of the youth?
>> MALCOLM HUTTY: I think it’s surprising that the reaction to safety comments were negative on Twitter and the audience. Even the Norwegian youth delegation kept on citing censorship as a major concern. I never thought of Norway as having a big problem with censorship. I do know that the businesses that are providing social networking sites aimed at children will be reacting to the Harbor incident with greatest concern and will put in place new measures to be more protective and to demonstrate that their environments are safe to invite children into. That will be the private sector reaction. But we can take something from the audience, from the remote participation, from Twitter, the tone that says don’t overreact in terms of having a top down regulatory response to it. But, instead, let’s find ways of dealing with these issues and assuring safety that don’t balance safety against innovation and the Internet and development and openness, but finds a way of working together with it in concert, in a way that promotes the new development as well. And I think that is the message that is coming across from the response to your comments, commissioner.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: I’ll just – there are lots of arm waving up the back. I think there is a response to one of the questions and then I’ll come to you, Commissioner Kroes.
>> AUDIENCE: It seems that everyone is paranoid about the Internet, as if – it’s like it’s some shady back street where there are rapists on the corner of the street. It’s not like that. When you’re a normal child, you are taught don’t jump in the car with a stranger. We just need children to know, through education and also teach the parents, to not share any private information to strangers on the Internet. And then I don’t think we need any like safety. I mean, this is some really paranoid thing. I mean –
>> EMILY TAYLOR: I think Commissioner Kroes is disagreeing with you there.
>> NEELIE KROES: One hundred percent. If we are not talking about sexual abuse, I’m not paranoid at all. I’m too old to be paranoid. But having said that, just the last experience this week in the UK, that 80 children are sexually arrested, yes, that is not only the point of the iceberg, it is added to a lot of experience we have. I don’t accept that, and I want to shake up the parents, the teachers, and the children itself. And, by the way, that is what we are doing together with the industry, the industrial companies. Thirty-two CEOs of the big ones are gathered and are delivering a report before summer in which they are challenging what type of technology can they offer in their instruments and in their technology. For it should be end-to-end. And you can just say I’m a grown up or – and anyhow, I ran through this in safe lines.
But if you are aware that so many are not, then it’s really scarey.
Having said that, and that is the other part, where there was a question for couldn’t we in Brussels put a new issue for education for the elderly and so on. Therefore, the digital champions are at stake. Talking about the UK, and, John, you are aware of that, UK has already a digital champion for quite sometime. Marta Langfox. She was the inspiring example for me to just do it, and other Member States, too. She is able so far to connect ten million UK citizens with the digitization. And that is what we are looking for and we shouldn’t do that from Brussels. I don’t know why the hurdles are there, in a member state itself. It is possible.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: Alexander Alvaro, did you want to agree with Commissioner Kroes there?
>> ALEXANDER ALVARO: I think it’s one of the few moments I don’t.
>> NEELIE KROES: Mind your words.
>> ALEXANDER ALVARO: No, not really. Because I think he has gone right. I mean, I’ve been working for eight years, basically, on counterterrorism. And then I’ve been working on the digital question, and I – it showed that child abuse has become the terrorism of the Internet. It has become the justification for blocking of Web sites and censorship of Web sites.
And I know that Neelie Kroes is right when she says she is defending the freedom of the Internet, but unfortunately not all colleagues of the Commission are.
Sexual harassment of kids, it’s terrorism. But it will not solve the situation when one thinks about the digital questions. Commissioner, you have done a lot. The introduction of a button, that sort of alert button, this bulleying issuing, that’s a lot. But the off line world is as terrible as the online world. And nobody would sort of come up with the idea to sort of –
– to block streets or don’t let kids do this. Education is a major question. And a lot of Member States, including, unfortunately, Germany, has not come up with curricula in the school of media education. I mean, when I was a kid, we had courses where you learned how to drive a bike, where we made sure that right before left and all this stuff. Where is the right before left on the net? Where are these educational courses telling kids, look, there are great parts but like in the real world; there are parts you just don’t want to go.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: Thank you.
>> MALCOLM HUTTY: When we have something like the news of this week, it’s natural that everybody would want to do something like that. But we have to focus on who is the right person to act in individual cases. There are times when we in industry say no, don’t put things on us, it’s up to you, the Governments, to take action. And there are times when it’s up to us to say no, we can work on our own site to make our own sites safer. Don’t come in with top down regulation. And I think it’s important to keep a clear head in these emotional times.
>> EMILY TAYLOR: There are lots of questions from the audience. Practically everybody on the panel wants to take the floor. We are more than run out of time. So with everybody unhappy, I’ll say thank you very much, thank you to our panel and to our speakers, and to you. Thank you.
>> OLA BERGSTROM: Thank you, Emily, and thanks to the participants. If you could be back here at five minutes after 11. Thank you very much.