Imagine the situation of the early twentieth century or a little earlier. The streets in the cities start being filled with vehicles, roads between agglomerations are formed and on them appear first cars. Those who have a car enjoy freedom. It soon becomes clear that the basic rules on how to circulate are essential so that people on the road do not get hurt. This is a trivial observation but it accurately describes the state of freedom on the Internet.
We are numerous, we can do anything, also anonymously, and there is a growing crowd. Organised internet gangs can attack with impunity the state, private organisations and individuals. Sophisticated technology, which gives us more and faster information, is perfectly useful for tracking people, stealing secrets, in a word – limiting freedom.
We have started work at the European Parliament on the report “Digital Freedom Strategy in the EU Foreign Policy”. The subject is huge and I have no doubt that it will cause a great excitement. Everyone agrees that some regulations are necessary but so far no one has succeeded. This is not surprising since the most serious attempt was made by governments that proposed the infamous ACTA agreement. If the internet users do not organise and propose their own solutions, you can expect that there will be further attempts. On the map of the world we have dozens of countries where there is no free internet. Bloggers from Azerbaijan, Syria, Tunisia and Nigeria talked about it this morning at the European Parliament.
The European Union, especially the European Parliament, can give a good example of how to address this sensitive topic without throwing out the baby with the bath water.