Information technology has a revolutionary impact on our society. It has boosted freedom of communication and democracy but has also led to new approaches to surveillance and is increasingly used to impose restrictions on fundamental rights. EDRi’s role is to ensure that citizens’ rights and freedoms in the online environment are respected whenever they are endangered by the actions of political bodies or private organisations. Freedom, transparency and the rule of law are therefore our core priorities.
Freedom, in its most basic sense, means the right to live without arbitrary and unwarranted interferences, intrusions or limitations. It is one of the most important elements of a democratic society.
To ensure a functioning democracy, basic rights and freedoms need to be guaranteed. In Europe, these rights are established by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the European Convention on Human Rights and by national constitutions. In the digital environment, among the most relevant are the right to privacy and data protection, the right to a fair trial, freedom of thought, expression and information and the right to an effective remedy when our rights have been breached.
Restriction of freedom is very rarely the direct goal of any political process or corporate process, but many political and corporate activities have major impacts on our freedom in the digital environment. We advocate for laws and policies that protect our rights and freedoms to defend this cornerstone of our society.
Fighting for our rights and freedoms is only possible if we can hold the public and the private sectors to account. We advocate for openness, transparency and accountability of government and business.
We believe that transparency empowers each one of us to participate in the democratic debate, to allow us to understand where problems are and to be able to tackle them.
We advocate for effective transparency to allow meaningful participation of citizens in decision-making processes.
Without the rule of law to give meaning to legal safeguards, legal protections mean little. It ensures that all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the government itself, are accountable to enforceable and predictable laws that are impartially enforced. Constitutions, charters and conventions that bind states mean little if they can be breached with impunity by private companies, or by states that know that there is no way of enforcing the laws that they are suppose to respect.