The General Data Protection Regulation: A first step to protect EU citizens’ personal data

Words by: Merve Bektas, Yasmim Pessoa, Kaia Socha, Laura Basiacco, Justyna Zawada, Artaban Micali Drossos, Luciano Morganti, Heritiana Ranaivoson

Who has not yet seen this request while navigating the Internet: “This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies”? We all did! But, let’s be honest: how many of us even know to what exactly we are agreeing to?

Yet, every day, we put our trust in the hands of companies without knowing the specifics of the(ir) terms and conditions we subscribe to. Why do we do so? Most probably, it is for the willingness to log in quickly, to buy a specific product (we cannot any more live without!), to book an Airbnb … all of this and more overpowers the burden of reading the pages we are supposed to read and agree to about those specific terms and conditions.

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Working to reconquer the internet for the public interest

Words by Geert-Jan Bogaerts

The internet has become an indispensable tool for modern society; we can’t imagine having to live without the convenience of internet-based applications that provide us with services like navigation, email, social interactions with our friends, information gathering and dissemination, document storage and search. But we also suffer from the fact that most, if not all, of these applications are built with only one goal in mind: to maximize profit for the company owning these applications. The end-user is a means, not an end.

The values that permeate the internet, are the values of Silicon Valley. Libertarian at heart, where the right of the strongest (or the richest, or the most capital-flush) prevails. And in those places where Silicon Valley does not rule, other values apply those of state-controlled applications, that see their users as objects that need to comply with state-given values. Think China, Russia, or a large part of the Arab world.

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