The Spanish presidency of the EU has just started, and will last until the end of June.
Yesterday I was at a dinner in the European Parliament and listened Francisco Ros Peran, who is the Spanish secretary of state for telecommunications and information society. Unfortunately he neither has a blog, a home page nor a Wikipedia entry, but at least somebody has put a photo of him here.
I found it pretty depressing to listen to Mr. Ros Peran when he outlined the visions of the Spanish presidency. First a lot of pretty words about the importance of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) as enabling factors for European business. I agree, but I sort of knew that already.
When it came to concrete action plans, Mr. Ros Peran stressed protection of intellectual property. ”We need new legislation to get young people to respect intellectual property. They think that everthing on the net is free,” he said, and gleamed with pride when he talked about the new laws that Spain will be introducing.
Technically, he is of course right when he says that Ipred is not working when it comes to reducing p2p file sharing. It isn’t. So in the age old tradition of politicians everywhere, if something isn’t working, do more of it. No real news there.
But he also said something that at least I had not heard before. Mr. Ros Peran and the Spanish EU presidency want to give the Internet ”the ability to forget”. What does that mean?
Not even China or Iran are able to make the net forget things they don’t like, even though they try. The Soviet Union was equally unsuccessful in altering history after the fact, and in those days there was not even an Internet. It may be true that nobody expects the Spanish inquisition, but I doubt that even they would have the means to achieve that goal.
When I asked the Spanish secretary of state if he had some concrete details about this he didn’t, which at least is some comfort. Let us hope that it was just an indication of how little the Spanish government understands about the net, and that nothing will come out of it.
But I still find it very disturbing that the current EU presidency is even thinking along those lines.
According to Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights we have the right ”to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers”.
That right must apply on the net as well.