European institutions discuss protection of fundamental rights in digital environment

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18 February, 2014

In a recently published report, the European Parliament has investigated the mass-surveillance practices by the US’s NSA and by European Member States, their impact on EU citizens’ fundamental rights and on transatlantic cooperation in Justice and Home Affairs.

Within the European Union, the report calls upon certain EU Member States, including the UK, Germany, France, Sweden and the Netherlands, to revise where necessary their national legislation and practices governing the activities of intelligence services. The EU is especially concerned about their compliance with fundamental rights obligations such as data protection, privacy and the presumption of innocence.

In addition to the report by the European Parliament, the European Commission proposed a key reform to Internet governance. The European Commission seems to have lost their trust in the US when it comes to governing the Internet: “recent revelations of large-scale surveillance have called into question the stewardship of the US when it comes to internet governance,” said the commission.

The current US Influence on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a thorn in the EU’s side. Because ICANN is based in California, it is subject to US law. Brussels now wants ICANN to become more “global”; Vocal EU politicians call for agreement on “a set of principles of Internet governance to safeguard the open and unfragmented nature of the internet”. According to Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, “The next two years will be critical in redrawing the global map of Internet governance.”

The European Commission will continue debates on Internet governance at the Netmundial Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance held on April 23rd and 24th 2014, in São Paulo, Brazil.

Source: European Parliament, European Commission, The Guardian

Nathalie Falot

Senior Legal Consultant

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