Freedom and responsibility
Virtually no other invention has transformed our lives quite so dramatically over the past 50 years as the Internet. The digital age is creating new challenges all the time. In this field of tension, green Internet policy aims to achieve an equitable balance of interests for all Internet stakeholders while protecting the rights and freedoms enshrined in our constitution.
Unlimited access to information and the possibility to disseminate information freely are core basic rights which must, of course, apply to the Internet as well. The Internet has never operated in a legal vacuum, and it must not become a vacuum where civil rights are concerned. Based on the principle that privacy matters, green Internet policy has long sought to protect personal data and information from overzealous data collection by private companies, as well as from encroachment by the state. We are therefore firmly and actively opposed to data retention, online remote computer hard drive searches, and monitoring of telephone calls. We are calling for consistent opt-in rules which require the consent of the consumer, as well as detailed record-keeping to show how companies use data, and the opportunity for people to obtain information on where their data are being kept. The scandals surrounding various social networking sites, in particular, require rapid implementation of our proposals.
Neutrality is a prerequisite for the existence of a free Internet. Companies should not be able to pay extra to position their own or specific content in prime positions on the Internet. We are also opposed to state-imposed blocks on website access, which are tantamount to censorship.
This does not mean that content such as child pornography or right-wing extremism should be available online. In these situations, we advocate the permanent removal of the content concerned and rigorous prosecution of the persons responsible, along with faster and more extensive international cooperation. A system of blocks on website access is open to misuse and simply drives the evils of child abuse further underground, so this is not a solution, in our view. That is why we did not vote in favour of blocks on website access.
We are firmly opposed to the wholesale criminalisation of users of file-sharing platforms and call for a dialogue between creative artists, rights holders and users which keeps sight of cultural realities. The digitisation of images, photos, films and, not least, music has triggered a radical shape-up in the marketing, distribution and remuneration of artistic endeavour. We believe that flat-rate payment systems, such as a culture flat-rate, could help to achieve a fair balance of interests between users and artists.
We Greens believe that computer games are a cultural asset and an expression of creativity, and that they make a major contribution to the economy. They also offer immense potential for the dissemination of knowledge and skills as well as for relaxation. A narrow-minded media debate which invariably reduces the issue of "computer games" to a call for a "ban on killing games" is not the approach that we choose to take. On the one hand, we have campaigned for a seal to label high-quality computer games, and we also want young people's media skills to be significantly improved. On the other hand, we do not wish to downplay the potentially addictive nature of gaming and are calling, in this context, for media dependency to be recognised as a specific form of addiction.
We are working for Internet diversity, which we believe must include blogs and forums. They should not be held liable unnecessarily for foreign content, as this puts their existence at risk. Among other things, we are working for a reform of the Telemedia Act.