Digital rights entitled to European citizens are at a constant risk. Information technology is growing at an unprecedented pace. Now more than ever are people’s daily lives entwined with this technology. Privacy is a relic of the past. Personal information is available in databases collected by corporate entities for profit. Intellectual property in digital format is easily obtained and misused. There is a rise in the need for regulation of the usage of electronic data. Bureaucrats can not foresee what legislation is necessary to ensure future protection. The advancement of technology is out-pacing these policy makers. Any misguided attempt to regulate said advancements would be detrimental to European citizens.
The rights of creators and businesses alike need protection. To protect these rights, IP and Copyright laws are amendable. These rights change according to how new technology integrates into aspects of society. As technology creates new ways for sharing information, new legislation will follow. Legislation that is passed as protection for a liberty that yesterday did not exist. Such new laws create rights for digital privacy and intellectual property. They attempt to prevent the abuse of information. Other policies put forth, are set as a guide for future legislation to follow. It is an attempt to protect digital rights that are not yet known, relative to what citizens are entitled to today.
European Parliament created a plan to protect digital properties with the Copyright Directive (Directive 2001/29/EC, also known as the Information Society Directive). The directive’s purpose is to harmonize information laws among all EU member states. It has since been up to individual states to install the directive into their current law. The homogenization of European Copyright laws makes it easier to understand intellectual ownership. The rights for individual EU states are more in line with each other, in turn protecting all involved parties from potential abuse.
Copyright legislation between individual European Union member states is similar for a reason. Directives issued for members to follow make them not only alike to each other. EU countries are part of 189 member states in the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Most countries that are part of WIPO have adopted the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT). This treaty ensures more protections for copyright, necessary due to advancements in information technology. Thus European Parliament issued the directives currently in place today. They are as a means to assimilate Copyright laws within Europe, and for Copyright laws to be in tune with the rest of the world. Making laws more similar globally allows information sharing with fewer obstacles. Information shared in a local circle can be as easily seen globally. Using services via the Internet often requires users to provide personal information, especially in cases of Internet banking, shopping, social media, etc. The personal information collected by these entities should not be misused for purposes of crime or profit.
A growing majority of EU citizens are connected to each other and the world via the Internet. Never before seen has there been this vast amount of collecting and exchanging personal information. Entities collecting this data are prone to misuse it for financial and criminal gains. However, there are organizations advocating the regulation and protection of such information use. European Digital Rights (EDRi) is a nonprofit organization, made up of a collective of 27 civil rights organizations across Europe, whose purpose it is to prevent the ill use of personal data. They protect citizens from having their information used against their will or knowledge. Ways in which EDRi helps is by preventing involvement in Internet crime, spamming, telecommunications interception, regulating Internet content, blacklisting intrusive websites and implementing copyright restrictions for digital media. This website is here to advocate digital rights available to European citizens. Also, to provide knowledge about the Internet that applies to all users.