Marietje Schaake Speaks on Protecting Rights of Connected Citizens in the Face of Global Threats

Marietje Schaake and Thorsten Benner debate with forum participants following the keynote address.

Dutch politician and member of the European Parliament, Marietje Schaake, delivered the keynote address for the Global Debate and Policy Challenge’s (GDPPC) Budapest Forum on Digital Freedom & Its Limits hosted by the School of Public Policy at CEU on June 17.

Schaake commented on the timeliness of the event following recent revelations concerning breaches of privacy by both United States and United Kingdom intelligence agencies. Online privacy and freedoms for private citizens are issues that should be discussed not only in parliaments but in the media and in homes across the globe, she said. And while new global threats may present ever more pressing dangers, they should not be allowed to lead to the erosion of the rights of the connected citizen.

Schaake also spoke about the cyber arms race and the proliferation of cyber weapons designed to breach the security of vital systems of communications and banking upon which we all rely. Those nations which see themselves as leaders of democracy and freedom must also maintain their credibility when opposing the erosion of freedoms in other states; credibility which has been significantly damaged due to the revelations concerning the NSA in the US and the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters.

She believes that Europe can play a leading role in this campaign: “The EU is not just a trading bloc, it is a community of shared values, and it must have the ambition to lead the way in the fight for digital freedoms.”

The keyonte address was followed by a lively debate with forum participants who traveled to Budapest from over 30 universities and colleges around the world. 

Schaake’s address on "Digital Freedom in a Hyper-Connected World" marked the beginning of the five-day Forum hosted by SPP from June 17 to 21. The Forum is the final event in the GDPPC’s successful 2012-2013 program and is moderated by Thorsten Benner, co-founder and director of the Global Public Policy Institute, which co-organized the GDPPC project.

In addition to serving as a member of the European Parliament, Schaake is a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations and the Investment Committee of the Digital Defenders Partnership. She also serves on the Board of Governors of the European Internet Foundation, making her one of Europe’s most digitally connected politicians in Europe and a leading voice on the topic of internet freedom.

For more information on the event and GDPPC click here.

GDPPC is a joint initiative of the International Debate Education Association, European Council for Foreign Relations and the School of Public Policy at Central European University, funded by Open Society Foundations