Saturday, December 22, 2012

ALDE Policy: Global Digital Freedom

It is reassuring sometimes to know that we are not alone, that Liberals across Europe believe in the same sorts of things, and are willing to fight for them at the European level...

The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Party convening in Dublin, Ireland on 8-10 November 2012


  • that technological developments enable individuals all over the world to use new information and communication technologies (ICTs) and to connect to the internet, thereby fostering revolutionary changes in societies, the functioning of democracy, governance, the economy, business, media, development and trade;
  • the vast enabling, creating and catalysing potential of the internet and ICTs for global economic, social, scientific, cultural and political development, contributing as such to the progress of humankind as a whole;
  • that the global and borderless nature of the internet requires new forms of international cooperation and governance with multiple stakeholders;
  • that net neutrality is an essential principle for the open internet, ensuring competition and transparency;
  • that the internet has flourished and developed organically as a platform of immeasurable public value;
  • that some European companies have sold telecommunications equipment to non-democratic countries, who have used this equipment for monitoring and following political opposition in their countries.”


  • unrestricted internet access a key enabler of access to information, freedom of expression, press freedom, freedom of assembly, and economic, social, political and cultural developments;


  • that human rights need to be protected and promoted by the EU, both offline and online;
  • that freedom of speech needs to be complementary with persecution of statements that call for genocide and physical violence against concrete citizens, groups of people or national groups.
  • that the EU only leads by example on digital freedoms when these are safeguarded in the EU;


  • that ICTs are also used as tools of repression through (mass) censorship, surveillance, and tracing and tracking of information and individuals;
Calls on
  • the Commission and Council to unequivocally recognise and push for a UN recognition of  digital freedoms as indispensable prerequisites for enjoying universal human rights, such as freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and access to information and ensuring transparency and accountability in public life;
  • the Commission and Council to recognise digital freedoms as highly relevant to the assurance of human rights. All human beings has the right to freedom of opinion and expression,  and this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Members of the ALDE Party should advocate that digital freedom gain stronger recognition as an imperative to upholding universal human rights.
  • the Council and the Commission to mainstream and review, so as to ensure accountability and continuity, the promotion and protection of digital freedoms in all the EU’s external actions, financing and aid policies and instruments;
  • the Commission and Council to promote and preserve high standards of digital freedom in the EU, in particular by codifying the principle of net neutrality in appropriate regulation, so as to strengthen its credibility in terms of promoting and defending digital freedoms around the world;
  • the Council and Commission to include, in accession negotiations, human rights dialogues and all forms of contact relating to human rights, conditionality clauses stipulating the need  to respect and preserve unrestricted access to the internet, digital freedoms and human rights online; 
  • ALDE Party member parties to consider the promotion and protection of digital freedoms as an integral part of all its principles and activities.

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