Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

EU Commissioner: We Don’t Want U.S. Reading Our Mail and Listening to Our Phone Calls

While it is not yet clear that the NSA spying revelations will lead to any substantive change in the U.S., the growing scandal is poised to spark even stronger data-protection laws in Europe.

European Union Vice President and Commisioner Viviane Reding said on Monday that efforts to strengthen existing privacy laws have gotten a boost from attention to PRISM and other NSA data-gathering efforts.

“It was a wake-up call, thanks to the Americans,” Reding said, speaking at the DLDwomen conference in Munich.

We do not want the U.S. government to listen to every phone call we make and read every email, Reding said.

“Data protection in Europe is a fundamental right,” Reding said. “Strong rules allow trust and, in the Internet world, without trust you cannot go ahead.”

Speaking at the conference, which bridges women’s concerns and technology issues, Reding said that women have been at the forefront of promoting privacy — a key ingredient to freedom and democracy.

“It is mainly women that have understood that importance,” Reding said.

Europeans as a whole, Reding said, are also more keenly sensitive to privacy issues, after painful lessons of what can happen when governments misuse information collected about their citizens.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work