People should be at the center of the digital age, not technology. According to the European Commission, the further digitization of society offers many opportunities and challenges. Still, above all, it should increase the quality of life, for everyone, in a fair, sustainable way.
The committee has set out this in a solemn European Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles for the Digital Decade, which it hopes will be signed by the Member States and the European Parliament before the summer.
Everyone has the right to an affordable, fast, secure internet connection in everyday life, but also the right to be offline, according to the daily EU board. All rights and freedoms legally enshrined in the EU must be respected both offline and online. Commissioner Thierry Breton (Internal Market) said: “This statement establishes once and for all that what is illegal offline is also illegal online.”
This concerns, for example, spreading fake news and inciting hate. But also about the right to free choices online, without the user being led in a certain direction by search engines such as Google or internet platforms. Users must also maintain control over their personal information. The statement guides dealing with new technologies and steering further digitization in the right direction for companies and policymakers. Internet companies are expected to make a responsible contribution, even when it comes to paying taxes.
Margrethe Vestager, Vice-Chairman of the Committee: “We want secure technology that works for the people. And we want everyone to be able to participate actively in our increasingly digital society. This statement gives us a clear reference point for the rights and principles in the online world.”