Earlier this month I wrote about the 10 Point Charter for a Digital Society and the voting exchange supporting it. Claude Moraes, Labour’s 1st place candidate on the London List, an incumbent and a leading member of the EU Parliament’s LIBE (Civil Liberties) Committee has already signed it as has Ivanna Bartolleti, who is also on Labour’s London list. Two days ago, I wrote to the remaining London Labour candidates and asked them to also support it. The rest of this article is a synopsis of the argument I used in favour of all 10 points. I said something like this,
I am writing to you as Labour’s London slate for the European Parliament to ask you to join Claude and Ivanna and sign up to the EDRi’s 10 point charter for digital rights. This has been launched at the wepromise.eu web site, where they propose a voting exchange; candidates pledge to support the charter and voters pledge to support candidates that support the charter.
I am a member of the Labour Party in London and have met most of you at various Labour Party meetings, particularly over the last year during the MEP selections. I am also a member of the Open Rights Group supporters council and you can check me on Linkedin to learn of my professional expertise.
The internet and cloud are a new model and means for communication and needs to be organised in the interests of citizens not in the interests of governments and corporations. In my short blog article, I argue that the Charter is a prerequisite to democratic participation, ensuring that citizens have the access to public information and can thus make informed judgements, that they are connected to the internet and thus to other citizens and have the right to organise. We have a right to privacy. We need a new and fairer intellectual property settlement. The Internet’s government must remain or work towards a democratic participatory model and not fall into a bureaucratic, dictatorial or corporate control and that software must be “open” (FLOSS) because closed, secret and proprietary software is a diminution of democratic control. (At this argument’s most accessible we mustn’t allow secret/closed software to count elections or filter or ignore the citizen’s voice.)
Europe has collectively from national experiences as wide as Spain, Germany and the Czech Republic come to the conclusion that privacy is a right! The charter defends this right by asking you to pledge to defend the right to privacy from state and private sector intrusion and surveillance, to oppose mass surveillance and to defend individual’s access to on-line anonymity and encryption. (It should be noted that unless encryption can be trusted, we cannot have e-commerce nor trust that on-line correspondents are who they say they are!)
There is a digital dimension to the proposition that we are all equal before the law, the charter commits you to defending people’s right to connect to the internet and to receive information; it also commits you to opposing the privatisation of law enforcement and punishment outside the law. This is aimed primarliy at ensuring that trade laws do not give privileged positions to corporations in criminal prosecutions in particular in the presentation of evidence or sanctioning activity by particularly the internet service providers.
The changing nature of work and the growing role of creativity enabled by the new digital platform is recognised by the call for a new fair intellectual property settlement recognising the explosion of creativity performed by newly enabled citizens and dramatically lower costs of sharing. The commitment not to enforce laws outside court supervision is also part of this need.
In summary the manifesto argues to equip citizens to participate in their democracy, (1,3, 9 & 10), asserts citizens’ right to privacy (2, 5, & 6), asserting equality before the law (3 & 7) and asserting citizens rights in the intellectual property settlement (4 & 7). A comprehensive and moderately stated set of policies. Let’s see who can sign up to this.
Claude and Ivanna have signed the charter, and Claude has made a short video explaining why.
If you could all sign up to the charter, I think it would be help to the Labour Party and also the right thing to do. It will enhance your mandate!
I have proposed that the Charter become a Labour Party election pledge at the Your Britain site. Your support would I believe help Labour do well in London and potentially establish support for these policies within the Labour Party to make them part of our manifesto in 2015. I shall ask my CLP to submit support for the charter as a contribution to the final programme consultation. If you could vote for it at the YB page that would also be great. I plan to put up articles supporting it on the Linkedin Labour Party Group and on Members net blog although I suspect that these many of these words will appear again.
I hope you can make support the charter at wepromise.eu and then vote it up at Your Britain.
If you could vote it up at the Your Britain site I’d be grateful, it’s a bit lonely as it stands.