Under the ‘Digital Single Market’ the EU is attempting to regulate online content to “increase competition” and “improve citizens’ access to information and culture”.
But as the Commission launched a mid-term review of its digital single market efforts yesterday, the big reveal quickly unfolded into disaster.
Politico’s Playbook reported the video link and document link for the press materials failed to launch at first.
Later, graphics could not be accessed.
Another document, on the ‘RAPID’ press information service, directed viewers to a document which showed what changes had been made to the document, and who had made them.
There were dozens of so-called “tracked changes” showing rows and rows of text had been deleted.
Changes also included a section about pressuring search engines and social networks, to be “responsible players” in a “fair internet ecosystem.”
The final version stressed more investments are needed to make sure that EU citizens have good internet connections.
But the line “it should also be noted that connectivity by satellite technologies should be promoted, especially in remote areas”, was fully removed.
The commission said it would focus “on the mechanisms and technical solutions for removal of illegal content”.
The phrase “technical solutions” had been added just last week.
Julia Reda, a German left-wing MEP said the changes indicated a censorship attempt.
Reda told EUobserver in an e-mail: “Removal of illegal content can only be done in two ways.
“Either a person is checking the content, or it is taken down by an automatic filter. ‘Technical solutions’ therefore clearly refers to filters.”
The Commission is accused of attempting to control online output in Europe by banning aggregation sites and pressuring online businesses.
Commission’s secretariat-general’s Ann-Sofie Ronnlund and Andrus Ansip cabinet member Jorgen Gren made most of the changes.
Mariya Gabriel, Bulgaria’s candidate to replace Kristalina Georgieva as European commissioner is expected to be nominated as holder of the digital commissioner portfolio.
According to the EU, citizens will be better protected online with the DSM “where the individuals and businesses can seamlessly access and exercise online activities under conditions of fair competition”.