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The EuroDig session on global standards for the Internet and the working world started off with
Eduardo Ustaran (Field Fisher Waterhouse) pointing out the following dilemmas:
how can we foster the development of the Internet in a way that safeguards the privacy of users?
And How can we take advantage of the technology available to us in a way that
protects individuals’ information and intellectual property?
First to discuss these aspects was Andreas Krisch (European Digital Rights) who stated that, in terms
of data protection, we need to think of how the legal framework of the
information society we live in will be in the future. That is, we need to
develop frameworks not only by focusing on what is happening right now, but rather,
what things will look like 15-20 years from now. A couple of points to consider
are issues such as the increased trend for the flow of data, as well as
increased remote participation and anticipate what will be different. It would
have been interesting to hear him develop on this idea, in order to find out
how exactly he himself sees the Information Society in 2025, for example.
Krish then tackled the issue of corporations that are collecting vast amounts of personal data without
any oversight. He urged the development of standards to protect this data and
specifically mentioned that the EU needs to achieve a high level of enforcement
of data protection since, in some states, existing laws are enforced weekly and
authorities need to have the proper resources to tackle this. Easier said than
done. Krish stopped at those suggestions, without explaining, for example, how
certain countries (especially Eastern European ones) that are just starting to
recognize issues such as data privacy will implement rigorous frameworks that
not only seek out those who do not respect them, but also find the money and
human resources to take them to court.
Kevin Fraser (Council of Europe) made reference to the Convention of 1988 by referring to what I
believe is a great metaphor on how far standards should go: “The Internet
shouldn’t be some sort of unregulated Wild West. But we shouldn’t overregulate
it like the Berlin Wall either”. I believe this is very true, in the sense that
it is extremely difficult to find a middle ground, where there are certain
global standards integrated into a logical framework, but not too many that the
framework starts working against itself.