An in-depth review of Internet governance is to be launched by the European Commission to examine how different national laws and jurisdictions conflict online.
“Europe must contribute to a credible way forward for global internet governance. [It] must play a strong role in defining what the net of the future looks like,” said Neelie Kroes, the Commissioner for digital agenda.
It hopes the research will lead to an international alignment of Internet governance, which Brussels defines as the global arrangements that organise the resources and functions of the Internet and ensures the web functions properly.
This follows what the Commission has claimed to be a number of contradictory legal decisions regarding online laws across Europe - combined with the large numbers of various types of online transactions that take place across different borders.
“Recently conflicting visions on the future of the Internet and on how to strengthen its multi-stakeholder governance in a sustainable manner have intensified,” says a European Commission policy document released last week.
“Moreover, revelations of large-scale surveillance programmes and a fear of cybercrime have negatively affected trust in the Internet.
“Taken together, a continued loss of confidence in the Internet and its current governance could slow down innovation and the growth of European Internet companies,” it adds.
The Commission claims it wants to provide a basis for a “common European vision” for the way in which the Internet is managed and aims to promote this globally.