Madelin: EU Parliament stopped better online law

BRUSSELS The European Forum on Child Protection featured an impressive list of speakers in its full-day seminar in Brussels this past Tuesday.

Robert Madelin and John Carr are familiar to Netopia’s readers, Club Penguin’s Lucy Woodward provided a fresh take on responsible conduct as an online service provider and aside from funky abbreviations, looking to youth and children for answers was the thought of the day.

– 2014 is an opportunity to change the Brussels “word-cloud”, said Robert Madelin, Director-General of DG CNECT. Will better internet for kids be part of the conversation this time next year?

Madelin stressed the importance of networks of stakeholders getting involved in the issues of online child safety and also pointed to the Horizon 2020 research framework as an opportunity for fields like the humanities and social sciences. The moderator, David Miles, asked questions about industry involvement and self-regulation, but Netopia wanted to know about Madelin’s views on darknets:

How to deal with illegal services operating outside the EU jurisdiction?

– It makes me think of a book by cryptographer Bruce Schneier: “Liars and outliers”. We are living in an age of shifting boundaries of trust and securities. We should be careful what we wish for. We must consider the weight and cost of building security and not having it. We could imagine a world where would be safer. It would be a cross between North Korea and General Alexander’s wildest fantasies. We can’t set ourselves up for safety at all costs without sacrificing things.

– That doesn’t mean the Commission thinks status quo is fine. In the 2.0 Barroso commission, there was a proposal to allow member states to block services from third country states that were serving bad stuff. But Parliament could not agree to include that in the laws. The will to legislate is not there. On Election Day, Members of European Parliament must fess up and say what they thing about that.

– What can the Commission do without it? We can work with national governments that want to block such services. There are exceptions in the treaty and audio-visual media services directive that allow member states to make national legislation. The European Commission would not stand in the way of such initiatives. Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and the United States Attorney General work hard in collaborating with global corporations that can take out the criminal networks. There is a cost to what we can do, and not a consensus where to strike that balance.

Per Strömbäck
Editor Netopia