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The Future of Internet Regulation at the European Parliament

My speech at the European Parliament last week at the Future of Internet Regulation event.

Last week, I gave three talks1 in Belgium, starting with one titled “Dear regulators, please don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” at an event on The Future of Internet Regulation organised by the Greens and Pirates at the European Parliament on Tuesday.

You can watch it via the Peertube embed, above, thanks to the lovely folks at La Quadrature du Net who took the initiative to rip the recording of the live stream and host it on their own instance. They also edited together a version with my slides, captions, and translations. I’ve embedded that version at the end of this post.

The personhood and democracy crisis

During my talk, I tried to impress upon the audience of MEPs, policymakers, and bureaucrats the urgency of the personhood and democracy crisis that we are faced with due to surveillance capitalism.

We have an opportunity to do things differently in the EU. We must regulate surveillance capitalists – and move beyond data protection to legislate for algorithmic transparency and, ultimately, data minimisation.

Small Tech is the antidote to Big Tech

But that’s only one half of the story. Regulating to reduce harm is important but it must go hand-in-hand with regulating to incentivise an alternative ethical approach to building technology with different criteria for success.

We must fund small tech as the antidote to big tech.

The immediate feedback from the room ranged from shock and bruised egos2 to enthusiastic hugs and MEPs asking for appointments to talk (sorry I haven’t been able to get back to you all, it’s hard being a tiny not-for-profit, but I will).

Here’s hoping the talk will have an effect.

We can only try, I guess.

A version of my talk with captions, slides, and subtitles in multiple languages.

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  1. The other two were my opening keynote at Creative Ville in Antwerp and my talk to students at Howest International in Kortrijk. ↩︎

  2. One of the panelists, a corporate lobbyist, actually tried to tone police me at the end of his own panel when I asked a question. I was apparently using my “outside voice” and should have used my “inside voice.” Uh-huh. You can see the exchange start at ~12:00:17 on the recording of the web stream, following my question on corporate lobbying and institutional corruption. ↩︎