Freedom Not Fear 2012

By EDRi · September 26, 2012

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Deutsch: [Freiheit statt Angst 2012 |]

The 4-day “Freedom Not Fear 2012” (FNF 2012) event came to a successful end on Monday, 17 September 2012. Organisations and individuals from 11 EU-member states participated to raise their voice for better privacy safeguards, to protest against emerging surveillance measures and to exchange views on digital rights issues

The Brussels action in which several EDRi members participated (FoeBuD,
Digitale Gesellschaft, IuRe, Panoptykon, Bits of Freedom, VibeAt and the
Liga voor Mensenrechten) was accompanied by protest events in the US,
Argentina, Luxembourg and Australia.

Bits of Freedom (Netherlands) attended the FNF weekend in Brussels
focusing mainly on the events around the review of the data protection
framework. They consider it great to meet many activists working on
different topics of which many are related to the activities of the
Dutch organisation. Also, BoF found it inspiring to see which important
issues exist outside the scope of their work.

FoeBuD (Germany) said that several excellent results were produced at
FNF 2012. FoeBuD members really enjoyed the internationality this year –
and will continue working to bring even more organisations to next
year’s event. One topic that FoeBuD has recently focused on is the
European Data Protection Regulation, and some good work on this was done
during the FNF activists’ weekend and the meetings with European
officials. Another focus is the project to investigate and hopefully
start a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) against data retention, on
which some valuable exchanges took place during FNF. The next step on
this will be to organise an international conference in Amsterdam to
talk about the ECI.

Three Digitale Gesellschaft (Germany) members were able to participate
in this year’s FNF12. This was a perfect occasion for them to put their
energy into pan-European networking between activists and to explain
their position to European policy makers. During the conference, the
members gave a short introduction and overview of the German national
campaign on net neutrality.

The FNF 2012 started on Friday afternoon with a discussion about the
consultations of the EU Commission about a European notice-and-takedown
system of content on the Internet. Mr. Werner Stengg, Head of the EC
Unit “Online Services” presented the Commission’s point of view on this
sensitive topic. The talk was followed by two hours of discussions with
Mr. Peter Hustinx, European Data Protection Supervisor, about the
upcoming EU Data Protection Reform. He started with a detailed
explanation of his interpretation of the Freedom Not Fear motto: “Fear
is always a bad adviser.” He emphasized the need to keep on striving for
positive developments on privacy issues. Mentioning the whole range of
various kinds of activism, from single person engagement up to
professional privacy activism: “Keep on going – we need you!”

Three more days of the barcamp-like conference filled with meetings,
lectures and discussions followed, also including a colorful
demonstration within the city of Brussels and one more outside action
named the “Camspotting Game”. One of the results of “Freedom Not Fear”
was the establishment of the International Working Group on Video
Surveillance, which announced a campaign targeting the latest
developments in privacy-intrusive technology such as “Facewatch” in the UK.

Freedom Not Fear 2012

Walk of Protest FNF 2012