EU Declaration of Digital Rights and Principles falls short of its ambitions

press at press at
Tue Dec 6 16:54:26 UTC 2022

 = EU Declaration of Digital Rights and Principles falls short of its ambitions =

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Member states, the European Parliament, and the Commission have reached
a consensus on the Declaration of Digital Rights and Principles.
Although it aims to serve as a reference point for the digital
transformation of Europe, it instead descends into murky waters, causing
ambiguity. Its wording is unclear and it overlooks existing good

Whereas the EU institutions claim that digital sovereignty and openness
are crucial for the digital transformation of Europe, the declaration
lacks clear definition of such values. The text of the declaration makes
reference to promoting interoperability, open technologies and
standards. However, it is not clear what exactly the signatory
institutions mean with such wording. By contrast, the European
Parliament proposal had a clear reference to Free Software as a way to
ensure transparency in the use of algorithms and artificial
intelligence, as well as the importance of Open Standards.
Unfortunately, this wording failed to be upheld during the inter-
institutional negotiations, and the final text ended up being rather

/“In a fast-pace digitalised society, the importance of such declaration
of digital rights is crucial. This text will serve as a benchmark for
decision makers in the journey of shaping our digital sphere. It is
problematic for our software freedom that such declaration lacks clear
definitions and that solid existing frameworks are not being taken into
consideration”,/ explains Lina Ceballos, FSFE Policy Project Manager.

It is also not clear if the declaration is consistent with existing
frameworks. According to its text, it is built upon previous initiatives
such as the Berlin and Tallinn [1] declarations. These aforementioned
frameworks already refer to Free Software when it comes to digital
sovereignty and interoperability, while they also require more use of
Free Software, and strengthening the requirement for its use. However,
when it comes to interoperability, Free Software is not explicitly
mentioned in the Declaration of Digital Rights and Principles.

Last but not least, /“the declaration misses to name reusability of
software and hardware through Free Software licenses as an important
step towards a more sustainable digital society. Having said this, the
current negotiations about the Ecodesign Directive will have to do it
right where the declaration falls short”/ says Erik Albers, FSFE's
Digital Sustainability Program Manager.


  == Over de Free Software Foundation Europe ==

  Free Software Foundation Europe is een goed doel dat gebruikers in staat
  stelt om technologie te controleren.  Software is sterk verweven met
  alle aspecten van onze levens. Het is belangrijk dat deze technologie
  ons tot iets in staat stelt in plaats van ons te beperken. Vrije
  Software geeft iedereen het recht om software te gebruiken, te
  begrijpen, aan te passen en te delen. Deze rechten helpen het
  ondersteunen van andere fundamentele vrijheden zoals de vrijheid van
  meningsuiting, pers en privacy.

  De FSFE helpt individuen en organisaties begrijpen hoe Vrije Software
  bijdraagt aan vrijheid, transparantie en zelfbeschikking. We verbeteren
  gebruikersrechten door het opheffen van barrières voor de adoptie van
  Vrije Software, moedigen mensen aan om Vrije Software te gebruiken en te
  ontwikkelen en voorzien in middelen om iedereen in staat te stellen
  Vrije Software in Europa verder te promoten.

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