Women and the Web – Why Data Protection and Diversity belong together

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Dear Ursula,  Dear Steffi,  Ladies and gentlemen,

I am happy to be here today, and it’s good to see so many familiar faces.  And I’m glad about the opportunity to ‘break new ground’, with you. For me, personally, the DLD is as an extremely useful platform to ‘break new ground’ – some of you might recall that it was here that I broke the news about the EU’s data protection reform, and it was here that I broke the news about the women quota. Two bold initiatives that are about, on the one hand, securing rights, and, on the other, contributing to the economic growth that we need.

And two initiatives that reinforce each other: An open, secure and flourishing web is the perfect platform for bringing women together and helping them to achieve great things! I will give you a very concrete example a little bit later on.  Breaking the silence about the most recent Data Scandals  But for me DLD is not only about breaking new ground. It’s also a good opportunity to break the silence. And I will not be silent about the recent revelations on programmes such as PRISM in the United States or TEMPORA in the UK or any other spying programme in any other country. Why? Because, in Europe, data protection is a fundamental right.  Citizens do not want the secret service to listen to every phone call they make or read every e-mail they write.

And rightly so. For us Europeans, national security and data protection go hand in hand. They are two sides of the same coin. National security is important, but it does not mean that anything goes and that fundamental rights no longer apply.  The EU Data protection reform is Europe’s answer  That is, by the way, one of the reasons why, at the DLD conference last year, I announced my plans for a fundamental reform of the EU’s data protection rules – just one day before the European Commission adopted its proposal. 18 months have since passed. 18 months of debating and negotiating. Too long for my taste. But now the pace is going to be accelerated. Because the recent data and spying scandals have been a wake-up call.

A wake-up call for all those who have been blocking or trying to water down the Commission’s data protection rules —and who have lately started to voice support, stressing, finally, how important solid data protection standards are for Europeans. It’s time words are followed by action. Here to read more.

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