Ben Wagner denial of access to markets can be harsh measure impact
One of the main issues of European foreign policy after the Arab Spring — what to do with Western techniques of surveillance, which are used to persecute political activists in countries with repressive regimes. For a long time European politicians are wary on the subject, but this fall in Europe, seems to have come to the realization that you need a pan-European regulation of surveillance technology exports.
In September of this year at the Berlin Conference on the dilemmas of freedom in the web of foreign Affairs Minister Guido Westerwelle said bluntly: «Cyberspace allows political activists to organize themselves. But at the same time, social media can be infiltrated. Surveillance technology can still track down senders and recipients political disk imaging. Repressive regimes can use the Web, so disorganized, impale, or even to identify and arrest the opposition. In countries with repressive regimes, political activists face threats to their personal safety. These regimes should not be granted for technical means of surveillance and harassment grazhadan own. «
Comments Westerwelle repeated appeals of the French municipal Secretary of the digital economy, the members of the Dutch Party greenish and the EU Commissioner for the digital agenda a day or close the gap in regulation. In April this year, EU member states have expressed almost unanimous support of the Euro Parliament resolution, which proposed the EU to create rules for export of surveillance technology by 2013.
Ben Wagner (Ben Wagner), a researcher of the Institute of Euro in Florence — one of the professionals in the current time formulating a European approach to the regulation of surveillance technology exports. In July this year, Wagner published the study «After the Arab Spring: new directions for human rights and the web in the European outdoor politics» («After the Arab Spring: New Paths for Human rights and the Internet in European Foreign Policy»), custom-made Euro Parliament.
About how it may be a European response to this dilemma, Ben Wagner told Andrei Soldatov.
— Are there prospects for euro regulation of surveillance technologies for the last time?
— I think that in the next 12 months we can expect that some steps will be taken. While it is difficult to say what exactly, but certain acts will be made.
— In its own report, you suggest to make the system operational response — both technical and diplomatic, to the case of the use of such technologies for repression. Is it true that I realized that you have to offer to make some structure for this?
— I think it can be fully. The point here is that the people who make decisions in manufacturing companies and government agencies now they say, «if we knew then, three months back, but not at the moment, we would have acted differently.» And the point is that, knowing this at the moment, it is worth to do so, to accelerate the process of informing them, in order to give them an opportunity to think fit and to make appropriate decisions. Say, was a lot of sense to know about the companies that supply such technology to Egypt before and during the event. This will allow policymakers to make more decisions made. Because the issue here that must be made to ensure their access to high-spirited respective info and what steps should be taken so that they could react swiftly.
— What do you think about the position of Germany and nedavneshnego statements by the Minister of foreign affairs minister?
— I think that the German position is quite fascinating. On the one hand, they share a common concern in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other ministries, and believe that something needs to be made. On the other hand, they fear that this may lead to loss of jobs and have a negative impact on the German economy, especially in times of crisis. Because there is an awareness that something must be done, but the limiting factor is the likely impact on the economy.
— What struck me in your report that Our homeland it never mentioned.
— Yes that’s right, and I’m very sorry, indeed! There are two aspects — the study of the European strategy, and focus it in real time on the southern Mediterranean. Many participants in this discussion were that we need to expand the focus to include other regions. Naturally, this should be a political solution to the European Union decided that countries such as China and Our homeland will be the object of research. And the reason is that the economic interests differ. Naturally, certain steps must be manufactured. I’d love to say that the European Alliance has already taken steps to ensure that, say, freedom of the Web in countries such as our homeland. But it would not reflect the current state of European politics.
— In other words, at the moment you are not in step decision to expand the list of states, and another step discussion?
— It is a longish discussion — exit discussing opinions abroad region. You can not pretend that the rest of the world does not affect what is happening. So — yes, there is a debate, I believe that they are fully productive, but they may take some time. It’s like in the case of Germany — you need to go beyond the discussion only economic interests and go step by step to a global strategy.
— There are two levels of debate about freedom on the Web — at the level of the UN agencies and the European level. Such impression that Our homeland staked on promoting their own ideas about the web at the UN level, but not in Europe. Is that so?
— Well, in the 1-x, it explains the different composition of the participating countries. Incidentally, these have different levels, not only in the UN or the EU — there are a few states, a minority that has caused so as they wish to create the web control, and there are countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia, which are in making process approach. And these countries are addressing at the moment — or they are moving in the direction of «we need more freedom,» or «we need more control, for example, that we know the real names of users,» etc. Because many countries are still at the discussion stage at the state level.
— Are there structures that deal with the problem of the export of surveillance technology not only western production, and countries such as China and our homeland?
— I think that there are many charities. Naturally, we litsezreem this horror and the former Russian Union and in Russia, that the experience of the Arab revolutions can be repeated in these countries. European Alliance, of course, can behave more active if there is a speech about the members of the Council of Europe. Our homeland comes to the Council of Europe and it opens notable abilities. At the same time there are several regional non-governmental organizations that deal with this problem.
— Clearly, as the European alliance could affect European manufacturers of surveillance technology. But is there any mechanisms impact on manufacturing companies outside the U.S. and Europe?
— Naturally, it is harder than if it is talking about American or European companies. But I still think that in principle it can be. One example — is going to investigate the current time in the United States against Chinese companies that could sell such technology to Iran.
— You mean the scandal surrounding Huawei?
— Exactly. This is an example where the U.S. considers the activity of a company that is not in the U.S., and is based abroad, and it is a question of access to the South American market, which, of course, is a significant threat to the Chinese companies. Loss in this case may be quite significant. And this strategy can also be used in Europe. And if there will be an agreement between the European Union and the United States that such technology should not be used for repressive purposes, such a measure, as the denial of access to markets, can become severe mechanism of action.