Liberal MEP: "Where is EU internet ambassador Zu Guttenberg?"

Marietje Schaake, Dutch member of the European Parliament (D66 /ALDE), has asked European Commissioner for Europe's Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes what has been accomplished by the "No Disconnect Strategy" in the first year after its launch. The strategy aims to promote unrestricted and uncensored internet access for bloggers and activists across the world. Schaake also asked what EU internet freedom advisor Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg has accomplished. The former German Defence Minister was nominated by Kroes in December 2011 as an unpaid advisor. Schaake: "The No Disconnect Strategy could be developed to become an important EU instrument. Digital freedoms are increasingly under pressure. Authoritarian regimes are becoming faster and better at using technology to threaten or restrict the rights and freedoms of their citizens. European policy alone will not be enough to change that, what matters is what we do. I would like to hear from the Commissioner what the current situation is, whether we are on the right track, and what exactly the role of Mr. Zu Guttenberg's is." Strategy For the European Parliament, Schaake initiated and drafted the first "Digital Freedom Strategy in EU Foreign Policy", which was adopted last December. "The report contains more than 70 very explicit recommendations about how the EU can promote digital freedom in all its external actions, ranging from trade to development aid. Making activists less vulnerable through training or safe technology is one of the aspects. On my initiative the European Commission allocated 3 million Euros for this. I think it is important to know how the budget is used and what it is spent on", Schaake says. Digital Arms Trade Schaake stresses it is essential that the EU keeps investing in an open and uncensored global internet. It needs to do this in close cooperation with businesses and corporations. Schaake: "Sadly, we see that European businesses often supply the technology to regimes that basically are censoring the online flows of information or build an intranet, cut off from the World Wide Web. Or they sell specially designed technology to spy on dissidents, journalists or citizens, tracking, tracing and eventually imprisoning them. We must stop this digital arms trade. The European Parliament has adopted some suggestions to restrict this trade. However, there is still a long way to go." --- For more information: Marietje Schaake 0031 6 3037 7921 Or her press officer Anna Sophia Posthumus 0032 484 201 518 --- 192641