Tal till Ecosocmötet om internet och ansvar

Det här är ett tal jag höll under Ekonomiska och sociala kommittéens (en EU-institution som inte främst verkar lagstiftande utan utredande) möte om internet och ansvar13-20_jpg-poster-better-internet-large förra veckan i onsdags:


Honourable participants in this meeting of the Economic and Social Committee,

We are here to discuss political implications on society of information and comunications technologies. More specifically, the designers of this event have framed the discussion as ”responsible use of the internet”.

When I look at theinternet policy and ICT policy in general, responsibility is probably the last word that would come to my mind.

For one – communication. Would you believe last week I attended a United Nations event where someone explained that ”communication” had been left out from the list of over-arching benefits of public access to the internet?

Communication is, to me, the most defining aspect of myself, my friends, the groups that I belong to and society at large.

Disregarding communication as a buidling block for society and the greatest gift to us as individuals and societies is entirely irresponsible. Which brings me to copyright and related rights.

This badly damaged and ill-adapted legal framework is creating problems for important society institutions such as libraries, archives, teachers and those who would ensure that visually or otherwise impaired individuals cn efficiently and effectively communicate with others. The we neglect this legal behemoth which has quashed communities, entrepreneurs and individuals is to me the ultimate act of irresponsibility.

Think but once of the children before you doom all their future communication, all their friends and social networks and societies to the power and whims of corporate IP management.

I believe we are also in the position where we can make responsible, or irresponsible, choices for infrastructures and frameworks. It is increasingly clear that technology can be developed that allows perfect traceability of every person and everything they do at al times.

Because a society where everyone is always watched, tracked or nudged into some behaviour of other is one we do not want, we will have to actively – or proactively – choose technologies and laws that allow us to preserve individual autonomy, self-empowerment and our right to define ourselves and our communities without external interference.

It has been said that although technology may not be good nor bad, it is certainly not neutral.

The technologies that we allow ourselves to permit in society can hugely impact our societies and how we interact. The fantastic wonders of being able to communicate with anyone in the entire world at a mere 200 millisecond delay has shown us that.

But other technologies and associated market models based on tracking, mapping, tracing and predicting cause discomfort and uncertainty. It is irresponsible not to deal with that and not to establish norms for these practises.

One of the most honurable tasks of being a publically elected official is that one gets to help hammer ut those norms and set the ramework for interaction – and communication – between the different society actors taht everyone is most comfortable with.

If there is any responsibility that should be exerted with respect to the Internet, it is the responsibility for the current political inaction in crafting all those citizen-friendly norms.

I believe that is is possible for us to create a legal framework where the citizens have the autonomy and the right to communcate and develop in private or together. I hope that the Economic and Social Committee and its members will join me in such an endeavour.


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