Freedom House Supports European Parliament’s New Digital Freedom Strategy | Freedom House

Freedom House Supports European Parliament’s New Digital Freedom Strategy

Washington

Yesterday, the European Parliament endorsed a groundbreaking Digital Freedom Strategy, which recognizes that access to an open and uncensored internet is a key enabler of basic human rights, such as freedoms of expression and assembly.  Among many important measures, the strategy calls for a ban on exports of certain technologies—such as those that facilitate mass surveillance and censorship—to authoritarian regimes. Freedom House firmly supports the strategy and commends the European Parliament for seeking to incorporate this critical issue into European foreign policy.

“As repressive governments around the world are increasingly using sophisticated technologies to crack down on political speech and monitor their opponents, it has become essential for democratic states to develop measures to combat these threats,” said Sanja Kelly, director of the Freedom on the Net project at Freedom House. “The European Parliament’s new digital freedom strategy is an important step in that direction and can serve as a strong foundation in the development of specific policies and legislation at the EU level.”

The strategy, drafted by European Parliament member Marietje Schaake, also calls for the European Union to support digital activists in authoritarian states, and it urges that restrictions on internet freedom be taken into consideration in the EU’s relations with other countries, foreign aid policies, and international trade negotiations. Moreover, the strategy calls on the European Commission and the Council of Europe to work to preserve digital rights at home, highlighting the importance of holding the European states accountable for actions within their own borders.

“Now that the Digital Freedom Strategy has been endorsed by the European Parliament, the European Union should move swiftly to implement some of its key measures,” Kelly said, “and the United States should follow suit.”

For more information on various threats to internet freedom around the world, visit Freedom on the Net 2012.

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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter (freedomhouse). Stay up to date with Freedom House’s latest news and events by signing up for our newsletter.