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Introduction lecture – Marietje Schaake: Digital Human Rights

27-08-2018 at 15:00 - 16:30

Digital Human Rights: Keeping the Internet Open and Free

Marietje Schaake (c) Bram Belloni, 2016

The Internet is everywhere. It is no longer just a medium for communication and entertainment, as it was in earlier days. With the rise of social media, the Internet has become an increasingly important platform where our social lives take place. And – perhaps even more significantly – it has also turned into an influential source of news and a channel for tough (political) discussions.

However, as the Internet grows, the dangers of using it also appear to grow. Fake news and online abuse are on the rise. Governments and companies keep track of our actions and have access to personal data (which they sometimes sell to third parties). And it gets harder and harder to express oneself on a platform like Facebook, as videos, images or messages can be swiftly deleted. In some cases, national governments even pressure online media to remove unwelcome content – think of the German ‘social media law’ that would ban fake news and hate speech.

So how do we ensure the Internet remains open and free? That’s where digital human rights come in. From the national to the international level, there are different laws to protect the Internet user’s freedoms: to connect, to browse anonymously and to express oneself freely, for instance. Or think of net neutrality, the principle that Internet providers cannot discriminate between users, websites or applications. They are not allowed to block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content. In the US, net neutrality ended this June. What will that mean? And how open is the Internet actually in Europe? Who protects our digital rights?

This introduction lecture will be given by Marietje Schaake. Since 2009, Schaake has been a Member of the European Parliament for the Dutch party D66 with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). For ALDE, she coordinates the International Trade committee and serves on the Foreign Affairs committee, where she focuses on strengthening Europe as a global player.

In the subcommittee on Human Rights, she speaks on human rights and coordinates the monthly human rights resolutions for ALDE. Her work has sought to include digital freedoms in EU foreign policy. Moreover, Schaake has pushed for completing Europe’s digital single market and copyright reform. She is strongly committed to an open Internet in discussions about Internet governance and digital (human) rights.

In addition to her parliamentary work, Marietje Schaake is a member of several councils and commissions, including the European Council on Foreign Relations, the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace, and the Global Future Council on the Future of Digital Economy and Society at the World Economic Forum.


15:00 - 16:30


Café De Troubadour
Peperstraat 19
Groningen, Groningen 9711PC Netherlands
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