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Shaping Europe’s digital future

European Digital Rights and Principles

The declaration on European digital rights and principles will promote a digital transition shaped by European values.

Learn about the digital principles

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The Commission wants to ensure people are empowered to fully enjoy the opportunities that the digital decade brings. So, it proposed a set of European digital rights and principles that reflect EU values and promote a sustainable, human-centric vision for the digital transformation.

The declaration was signed by the Presidents of the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council, reflecting the shared political commitment of the EU and its Member States to promote and implement the rights and principles in all areas of digital life. 

The European digital rights and principles will complement existing rights, such as data protection, ePrivacy, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. They will build on the experience of the European Pillar of Social Rights. And, they will provide guidance for the EU and Member States as they adapt to the digital transformation.

People at the centre of digital technologies
Technology should encourage solidarity and inclusion
Freedom of choice online
Online participation
Safety and security online
Digital device should be sustainable

The principles are shaped around 6 themes:

  1. Putting people and their rights at the centre of the digital transformation
  2. Supporting solidarity and inclusion
  3. Ensuring freedom of choice online
  4. Fostering participation in the digital public space
  5. Increasing safety, security and empowerment of individuals
  6. Promoting the sustainability of the digital future

Putting people at the centre of the digital transformation

Technology should serve and benefit all people living in the EU and empower them to pursue their aspirations. It should not infringe upon their security or fundamental rights.

Signatories of the declaration will commit to making sure that the digital transformation benefits everyone and improve the lives of all people living in the EU. They will take measures to ensure our rights are respected online as well as offline. The EU will promote this approach both at home and on the international stage.

Solidarity and inclusion

Everyone should have access to technology, which should be inclusive, and promote our rights. The declaration proposes rights in a number of key areas to ensure that nobody is left behind by the digital transformation, making sure that we take extra effort to include elderly people, people living in rural areas, persons with disabilities, and marginalised, vulnerable or disenfranchised people and those who act on their behalf. 

Concretely, signatories will commit to action in a number of areas, including:

  • connectivity;
  • digital education, training and skills;
  • fair and just working conditions;
  • digital public services.

Freedom of choice

Everyone should be empowered to make their own, informed choices online. This includes when interacting with artificial intelligence and algorithms. The declaration seeks to guarantee this by promoting human-centric, trustworthy and ethical artificial intelligence systems, which are used in line with EU values. And, it pushes for more transparency around the use of algorithms and artificial intelligence.

Freedom of choice also includes being free to choose which online services we use, based on objective, transparent and reliable information. This in turn involves making sure everyone is empowered to compete and innovate in the digital world.

Participation in the digital public space

Digital technologies can be used to stimulate engagement and democratic participation. Everyone should have access to a trustworthy, diverse and multilingual online environment and should know who owns or controls the services they are using. This encourages pluralistic public debate and participation in democracy. 

The digital principles also highlights the need to create a digital environment that protects people from disinformation, information manipulation and other forms of harmful content including harassment and gender-based violence. And, it supports access to digital content that reflects our cultural and linguistic diversity.

Safety, security and empowerment

Everyone should have access to safe, secure and privacy-protective digital technologies, products and services. The digital principles commit to protecting the interests of people, businesses and public services against cybercrime, and confronting those that seek to undermine the security and integrity of our online environment.

The declaration calls for everyone to have effective control over their personal and non-personal data in line with EU law. It pays specific attention to children and young people, who should feel safe and empowered online. 

Sustainability

The digital and green transitions are closely linked. While digital technologies offer many solutions for climate change, we must ensure they do not contribute to the problem themselves. Digital products and services should be designed, produced, and disposed of in a way that reduces their impact on the environmental and society. There should also be more information regarding the environmental impact and energy consumption of such services.

 

The declaration will play a key role in helping the EU and its Member States reach the objectives of the Digital Compass. It will also guide the work on the Digital Decade Policy Programme. To ensure that the objectives are being met, the Commission will monitor progress, evaluate gaps and provide recommendations through an annual 'State of the Digital Decade' report. 
 

The declaration will also guide the EU in its international relations, helping to shape a global digital transformation that puts people and human rights at its centre.

 

 

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