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EU politicians pledge net neutrality and data privacy to gain votes

European Parliament candidates sign "charter of digital rights"

By Jennifer Baker, IDG News Service
February 12, 2014 12:21 PM ET

IDG News Service - Some European politicians have pledged to defend net neutrality and data privacy in a bid to get elected.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are directly voted for by European Union citizens in various member states. The next election will take place this May, and in a bid to win votes nearly 30 candidates so far have signed a pledge to protect digital rights.

The WePromise campaign was launched one week ago by European Digital Rights group EDRi, an association of 35 digital civil rights organizations, and includes a 10-point 'charter of digital rights' that MEP candidates must promise to abide by. In return, voters are asked to sign the pledge to vote for candidates that have made this promise.

Candidates believe that digital civil liberties will be a big issue in the coming elections. "Right now, in the wake of the Snowden revelations, the issue that is perhaps highest on the agenda is to say no to blanket, unchecked surveillance measures. It turns out that spy agencies in the Western democracies have turned against their own population, either with or without the blessing of their respective governments. We need to put a stop to this surveillance society that nobody asked for and that does not help protect us. And we need to do it right now," said Swedish Pirate Party candidate, Christian Engstrom, who was one of the first to sign up.

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