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Safer Internet Day: Education is the key for young generations to user the Internet safely, not surveillance

Freedom, democracy and transparency Press releases

On 9 February, the world is celebrating Safer Internet Day (SID). The MEPs of the European Pirates fully support the annual initiative, which aims at making the internet a safer and more positive place. Education and parental support are key for young generations in learning to use the Internet in a safe way, and not total surveillance by law enforcement agencies.

Safer Internet Day was officially introduced 18 years ago to raise awareness and educate on how to use the Internet. Young people must learn to understand the Internet and how to navigate it safely, saysPirate MEP Patrick Breyer:

“Children and teenagers need to understand the consequences of sharing photos and personal information, communicating with strangers, and cyberbullying.  And they need to understand: Once something is published on the Internet, it stays online. It’s the job of policymakers and the education system to equip children and young people with enough skills to be savvy and safe online.

However, we should never try to control the digital flow of information and under no circumstances allow monitoring of private online communication to protect children and young people. We need to safeguard digital rights and support education instead of imposing surveillance and upload filters!”

Legislative proposals such as the Messaging and Chat Control (ePrivacy Derogation) won’t actually help protect minors, but rather expose them online when sexting. Markéta Gregorova, Pirate MEP from the Czech Republic, emphasizes that a functioning legal framework for both online and offline threats already exists:

“There is no need to reinvent the wheel. We already cover threats or incitement to hate crimes in the criminal code, now it is important to raise awareness on how the online world works and who can endanger you in it. Just as you don’t have to have security cameras on your toilets to be safe, there is no need to block the internet for that.”

In addition to that, an expert assessment by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) now concluded that the proposed ePrivacy Derogation is partly illegal. We have to provide a safer Internet for younger generations by protecting their privacy, not by endangering their fundamental rights, says Mikuláš Peksa, chairperson of European Pirate Party.

“Safe Internet doesn´t mean surveillance or censorship but constant enlightenment. With Pirates in the European Parliament, we always make sure that the user is protected, that his or her privacy is ensured. However, every Internet citizen cannot be restricted in any way from accessing the online content,” concludes Peksa.

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