Why the EU doesn’t care for the internet

First of all, this is a personal opinion and was motivated to been written down by a tweet from Bastian Allgeier.

This is a really good question. Although I am not certain what motivated Bastian to write this, I know that the same thoughts bug my brain for quite some time as well.

Recent Events

Politicians like Johanna Mikl-Leitner from Austria is trying once again to store internet activity of citizens and the EU starts voting again on Net Neutrality. People like the CEO of the German Telekom (Timotheus Höttges) instantly jumps on board and talks of selling better internet access for young startups. Luckily the internet community was active in stating their dislike.
This is all very concerning, especially as you see globally threatining deals like the TTP ramp up. (https://www.fightthetpp.org/)

But why is this all even possible?

The people behind the votes

Of course in an “democratic” system like the EU we have the european parliament with 750 political members (so much? omg).
Researching the average age of those members I found the last result from 2009 what results it 49,1 years.
This is quite a age when it comes to judging about a very new technology like the Internet. Most of the politicians come from various backgrounds like economics or legal studies. When asking those about their internet activities you get very vague answers that mostly demonstrate that there is quite a lack of knowledge in this sector. So they try to get knowledge about this from various companies. And of course in this process there is a lot of lobbying involved.
This ultimately results in very one sided opinions.

The Dilemma

Let’s say there is one book everybody would like to read. You have not read it yet but you have to decide on who should be allowed to read it, how much others should be allowed to read and how much should they pay for reading it. Of course, you ask the author of the book and the company behind the book on their opinion. Then you’ll go and ask shipping companies how they would like to handle the delivery. The shipping company says they’ll ship the short version for a cheaper price than the full version. The author says that of course no body should be allowed to read someone else’s book. And so on… you see where I want to go.
Nobody has asked the actual readers of the book what they think. In fact, most of the people were not even aware of those discussions in the back because nobody explained to them there would be different versions of the book.

Obviously the Internet is way more complex than a book. To be honest, it’s even really hard to explain to my parents why the Internet is so awesome and important. And they are very open about this topic.
So it’s even harder to explain it to people that have an opinion about it and financial interest and gain in regulating it.

Take Actions

We’re at a point in time of history (now + following years) that will shape the world greatly for our own future and of course for following generations. The distribution of data, knowledge and privacy is important and has to be free. Inform others about it, because if they don’t step up yet, it’s probably because they don’t know about this.

And if for some reason you explain it to someone who answers: “I don’t have anything to hide” advice them to publicly share every website they visit, every email they send and every order they take. Ever!
Or start slapping them with a banana peel. That works as well.

Stand up and make your voice heard because it’s necessary now and will probably be necessary for quite some time.

I want to leave you with this Video:

See you on the front.

Some Links