liberals urge all governments to respect citizens’ right to digital freedom


ALDE Party President Sir Graham Watson MEP has welcomed news that the EU is to ask for assurances that none of its citizens have had their rights violated by a massive surveillance programme run by the USA.

"Reports of a massive US surveillance operation targeting individual internet access have added more weight to liberal calls for digital freedoms to be respected and protected by the EU. As we  emphasised in the ALDE Party’s resolution on Global Digital Freedom during our November 2012 party congress in Dublin, citizens’ digital freedom plays a fundamental role in the assurance of universal human rights. Reports suggesting that the US government’s surveillance work has been more extensive than ever imagined and has included access to details of individuals’ internet use via the Prism software tool add more weight to our call for the Council and the Commission to promote and preserve high standards of digital freedom and transparency in the EU.’’

‘’As pointed out in the resolution, unrestricted internet access is a key enabler of access to information,  freedom of expression, press freedom, freedom of assembly, and economic, social, political and cultural developments. These norms form a vital part of the democratic process, and any country that contravenes these norms cannot call itself truly democratic.’’

The decision comes after the European Parliament debated the issue of data mining and the US surveillance programme following a request by the ALDE group.

Note to editors

The EU has said it wants assurances from the United States that its citizens have not been targeted by the surveillance operation using the ‘Prism’ software, which Washington says is legal under domestic law.

ALDE Party resolution adopted at the 2012 Congress in Dublin, Ireland: 'Global Digital Freedom'

ALDE group press release: 'Prism US date mining programme must be challenged by the EU'