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Category Archives: MEP

Since yesterday the candidates for the new EU commission take place in the European Parliament. Disapointingly even the most important German TV news like tagesschau and tagesthemen produced by the public TV station ARD didn’t devote more than a few seconds to it. Even the bit of snow that covered Germany got more attention in the news. Thus I decided today I gonna use online live-stream of the hearings with limited success.

As chrome became my standard browser on my MacBook it was obvious that I try the stream first using my favourite settings: Chrome on a Mac. The result was disappointing, neither did I receive a video nor audio livestream. Trying firefox gave the same result. Only Safari worked quite well. I received the audio and videostream in a somewhat decent quality. Unfortunately I got all languages at once. I felt like watching modern Babel at work. There were no options to select just one language. Hence it didn’t increase transparency except you wonder how politicians look like but that wasn’t what I was interested in.

I really would have loved to listen to Vivine Reding (Justice and Fundamental Rights), Joaquín Almunia (Competition), Neelie Kroes (Digital Agenda), Maroš Šefčovič (Inter-institutional Relations and Administration), Janusz Lewandowski (Budget and Financial Programming), Olli Rehn (Economic and Monetary Affairs) and Algirdas Šemeta (Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud) as I am especially interested in their fields. However, the EU tried and at least for me as a Mac user failed to provide a useful live-stream or was the Babelonic audio-stream on purpose?

Since I started studying in 2004 the way I consume news has changed tremendously. In the begining I subsrcibed to a major daily newspaper and a monthly magazine slowly I added online sources. Especially Spiegel Online and Financial Times, others on a less regular basis. Newspages which wanted to charge me for reading were ignored and will be ignored in the future as well. Later blogs and over the course of the last two years facebook and just this year twitter became more and more important as news sources as well.

As it becomes apparent at the beginning of my studies my news sources were classical print media wheras nowadays I check at least three-four newspapers online, additionaly two tech blogs. On top of all this I subscribed to various blogs, check facebook and follow a variety of twitter users. I wouldn’t do so if all these would write the same stuff, would I. The major benefit of our digitalized world is easy access to a variety of opinions as the content stays the same across different sources. No agreement in Copenhagen will be still no agreement no matter if you watch Fox News, BBC or ARD. However, one calls it an utter failure others will call it a step into the right direction and  others again might even call it a breakthrough in history as finally everyone ackknowledged global warning as a threat. Accessing these information should be easy (and free).

Yes, it should be easy. Just connect any device you want to with the internet and you get the information you want. I wish this would be true. I started to use my mobilephone as RSS reader when we switched the internet provider in my Dutch studenthouse. As a result I can’t connect to the router with my cellphone anymore as the provider seems to block access from mobiledevices. Luckily I have a laptop but what happens if this is blocked as well because I use the wrong device? Impossible? No, it’s not. It’s already happening. My university only supports Windows user while users of a different OS aren’t helped and send away. Other cases include devices which are either banned or bound from/to certain networks and hence affect the accessibility of the internet. One might argue that it’s the economy stupid that creates demand and supply of certain connections and hence just a result of capitalism. But we live in Europe the region where we civilized capitalism to make it useful for the people and not people useful for capital! Net neutrality is not just something that effects my generation it effects everyone using the internet, it affects everyone who retrieves information from it. Hence net neutrality affects distribution and accessing information. It limits a fundamental freedom of our society, it limits freedom of speech!

If you haven’t done anything good this year or want to do more, support the idea of an Internet Bill of Rights intiated by Christian Engström (Swedish Member of the European Parliament) as well as Matthias Groote (German MEP) and other MEPs with their facebook cause for network neutrality in the EU.

Browsing todays tweets I stumbled upon one of Reinhard Bütikofer, MEP stating that he met the following organizations, interest groups and lobbyists within the last months.

Actually a few month ago I discussed with a good friend whether it would be useful to force every MP to publish whom they talked. This could increase transparency for voters to see whether a MP talked to all or just a biased selection of stakeholders. I could imagine a NGO such as Transperancy International to collect this data and analyse it as well. It most certainly could provide data for many bachelor, master and phd-dissertations with(interesting?) results.

Until there is no one who collects such data I am thankful for anyone who delivers them on a voluntary basis. Hence I really appreciate Reinhard Bütikofers move and hope many politicians will follow.